File photo of the monsoon
File photo of the monsoon

Tamil Nadu gets ready for Cyclone Mandous

The met department has warned of very heavy rain and strong winds from December 9. State has 4 radars functioning 24x7 to provide weather data. Zonal officers are keeping machineries ready and taking precautions.

CHENNAI: The State is geared up for a third spell of rains during the northeast monsoon, as Cyclone Mandous formed over the Bay of Bengal.

The cyclonic storm is expected to be severe for Tamil Nadu with intense spells and strong winds on December 9 and 10.

The weather officials stated that the equipment such as radars and satellites to predict the weather conditions across the State, has been improvised in the last decade. There are 4 radars functioning 24x7 to cover weather data in Tamil Nadu. The prediction through radar reduced the number of deaths in the State during natural calamities.

“There are two radars installed at Port trust, and Pallikaranai in Chennai, one each in Karaikal and Sriharikota, which is 120 km away from TN. They forecast weather changes across the State. In the last decade, there have been many advancements in the equipment used to predict weather,” said Dr S Balachandran, deputy director-general of meteorology, Regional Meteorological Centre (RMC), Chennai. “We’ve increased observation networks, including high wind speed recorders and cyclone prediction models. These models are centralised and belong to the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD).”

File photo of the monsoon
Heavy rain: Holiday declared for schools in Tiruvarur, Thanjavur

As the low-pressure area strengthened into a depression over the southwest Bay of Bengal, the coastal regions witnessed strong winds around 30-40 kmph. When the system intensifies into a cyclone, the gusting wind speed is likely to reach 60-80 kmph. The weather department has issued warnings to the government departments ahead of an intense spell on December 9 and 10, as the cyclone will get closer to the TN coastal region.

“The cyclone is expected to adversely impact the State, as the wind and rainfall is likely to be severe on December 9 and 10, compared to weather conditions on Thursday. When the system is away from the coastal area, the impact will be more. However, when the cyclone interacts with the land, the intensity is expected to reduce,” explained P Senthamarai Kannan, Scientist E, RMC.

Principal Secretary and Commissioner of Greater Chennai Corporation (GCC) Gagandeep Singh Bedi has instructed zonal officers to keep machineries ready and take precautionary measures. Availability of pumps should be ensured in all water stagnation locations with required manpower with duty chart from December 8-10.

“The zonal officers should ensure the availability of fuel and food requirement in advance. At least 50 tractor pumps to be mobilised and kept ready at required locations in co-ordination with the mechanical department. The officers and staff availability at zonal control room should work round the clock with duty charts,” said Bedi.

All unauthorised hoardings have to be removed in coordination with Revenue officials. All tree-pruning machines and telescopic tree-pruning equipment have to be fully utilised whenever necessary.

Officials of the GCC electrical department are instructed to coordinate with Tangedco officials regarding safety of pillar boxes, cables and overhead power lines. Additionally, zones 1, 2 and 3 should make sure empty container lorries to keep their vehicles off the road.

Zonal officers will ensure the medical team is ready with the necessary infrastructure. Also, boats are hired and deployed at strategic locations identified during the last spell of rain. Officers must identify locations in all zones to dump the fallen tree branches.

Northern parts of Tamil Nadu dry in November

Unlike during the previous northeast monsoon, the State has received minimal rainfall in November this year. The weather office stated that the northern districts were dry as no low-pressure area formed near the north coastal region.

Though November has been poor without average rainfall, surplus rainfall was recorded in Tamil Nadu for the year. A drought situation will not arise in 2023.

During the northeast monsoon between November 17 and 23, the State received only 3 mm rainfall against its average of 34 mm, which is 91% below normal, as per RMC data.

For the current monsoon season (October 1 — December 7), Tamil Nadu, Puducherry, and Karaikal regions received 366 mm against the normal rainfall data of 385 mm, a dip by 4% according to the RMC.

“Usually, the low-pressure area forms over the northern coastal area in November. But, this year, it formed over the south coastal region. Delta districts had heavy rains in November,” said P Senthamarai Kannan, RMC, confirming an unusual dry November. “However, the rainfall for December will depend on the low-pressure formation in the sea. The rainfall will be predicted subsequently.”

Break from intense rainfall is common during the monsoon. Even in 2016 and 2017, the northeast monsoon was a failure, opined K Srikanth, a city-based weather blogger. “This year, it was not bad as the previous years, as we received enough rainfall. Even the reservoirs have sufficient storage capacity, so there will not a drought situation next year.”

File photo of the monsoon
Warning cage 1 mounted at TN and Puducherry harbours

Team ready for any emergencies, say AAI officials

The AAI held a meeting at Chennai International Airport today to discuss cyclone preparedness. VR Durai, director-IMD, Chennai Airport, has explained the impact of a cyclonic storm likely to prevail over the city for the next 72 hours.

The airport director Sharad Kumar said: “All teams are kept on standby. The contingency plan would be activated as the situation unfolds. The airport team is ready for any emergencies.”

He also emphasised on the proper mooring of smaller aircrafts and securing Ground Handling equipment so that they don’t move in heavy winds or inclement weather.

“If any flights are cancelled due to heavy cross-wind conditions, non-scheduled operators will be asked to explore the possibility of relocating their aircraft to a safer place outside the city airport as a precaution,” added airport officials.

NDRF teams arrive in Delta districts

As the India Meteorological Department (IMD) has predicted a very heavy rains for the following 3 days across the State especially the delta region, the respective district administrations have initiated preparations, as the teams from National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) have already arrived.

The cautionary signal 1 has been hoisted at Nagapattinam port while the NDRF team had a series of meetings, including one with the district collector A Arun Thamburaj.

Extremely heavy rainfall is expected at Ariyalur, Mayiladuthurai, Nagapattinam, Tiruvarur, Thanjavur, Perambalur, Pudukkottai and Tiruchy. The respective district administrations and the district disaster management team have initiated precautionary measures.

Adequate number of sandbags and rescue boats have been readied. Temporary relief camps have been established and regular announcements are being given to alert the people and give them updates.

Collector Thamburaj urged people to strictly follow announcements made through the district disaster management team. “No need to panic. Call the toll-free help line number 1077 that’s functioning round the clock,” he added.

Additionally, an adequate number of generators, heavy tools including power saws, pump sets and boats are being readied. The district collectors across the region had asked the officials to be alert and monitor the situation round the clock.

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