Chennai, Nov 7 (IANS) Authorities in Tamil Nadu braced themselves as cylonic storm 'Jal' moved closer to the coast, bringing with it rain and strong winds, officials said.
The storm lay centred around 400 km southeast of Chennai and 500 km southeast of Nellore in Andhra Pradesh. The weatherman said Jal would cross north Tamil Nadu and south Andhra Pradesh coasts between Puducherry and Nellore Sunday night.
The weather department has urged total suspension of fishing operations and coastal hut dwellers to move to safer places.
The capital experienced heavy winds and a continuous drizzle under Jal's influence since early morning.
According to the India Meteorological Department (IMD), heavy rains are expected over north Tamil Nadu, Puducherry and Rayalaseema, south coastal Andhra Pradesh and south interior Karnataka during the next couple of days.
The state government is gearing up to meet any eventuality. The Chennai Municipal Corporation has set up a round the clock control room and residents can call 1913, 25386386 and 25619336 for any assistance. Boats have also been sent to low lying areas to evacuate people.
The Tamil Nadu Electricity Board has advised people against touching any electric cable lying on the ground or walking near transformers. The board has also announced helpline numbers - 28521109, 28524422 and 155333 - for citizens to call for assistance.
The weather department said wind speed is expected to reach 60-70 kmph along and off north Tamil Nadu, Puducherry and south Andhra Pradesh.
The wind speed may go up to 110-120 kmph at the time the storm crosses the coastline and the sea tide may inundate low lying areas of Nellore and Prakasam districts in Andhra Pradesh and Tiruvallur, Chennai and Kanchipuram districts at the time of landfall.
Chennai municipal officials have advised people not to park their vehicles beneath trees and asked drivers not to sleep inside their vehicles.