Earlier this month heavy rains lashed Tamil Nadu sparking memories of Cyclone Vardah from a year ago and the floods of 2015 that killed over 400 people, and caused mass destruction in Chennai and nearby areas. Thiruvananthapuram and its coastal stretch were witnessing heavy rains accompanied by strong winds since this morning.
Vishnu, 40, died in Kulathupuzha in Kollam district after a tree fell over an autorickshaw.
"We are anxious about the safety of the fisherman who had gone to sea".
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan convened an emergency meeting of officials. He directed them to coordinate with other departments and maintain strict vigil. In addition, the state has sought the support of Indian Air Force for the rescue work. However, adverse weather conditions were coming in the way of rescue operations.
Around 200 fishing boats gone to sea from Vizhinjam have not returned. "Spoke to @India Coast Guard Commandant who admits his vessels have so far been inadequate for search and rescue but 2 bigger vessels on their way". The pilgrims have been advised to avoid bathing in rivers. The Southern Naval Command was also gearing up for any humanitarian assistance and disaster relief that may be required in view of the cyclone in the southern parts of Kerala, a Defence release said. Four trains were partially cancelled due to cyclonic wind and incessant torrential rain between Nagercoil-Kanyakumari, Nagercoil Thiruvnanthpuram and Nagercoil-Tirunelveli sections. It warns that damage is expected over South Kerala in the districts of Alappuzha, Kottayam, Idukki, Kollam, Pathanathitta, Thiruvananthapuram districts, adjoining districts of south Tamil Nadu and Lakshadweep Islands: Damage to power and communication lines due to breaking of tree branches and uprooting of trees, damage to thatched houses particularly with major damage to kutcha houses and minor damage to pucca roads. "Kanyakumari, Tirunelveli, Virudhunagar will receive heavy rainfall". In several places, electric posts got uprooted.
The authorities have opened relief camps at various places to accommodate people being evacuated from the affected areas including coastal areas. The Thiruvananthapuram district administration suspended classes in educational institutions in the afternoon. Similarly, landslides have been reported from hilly areas of the state.
The report said gale wind with speeds reaching 65-75 kmph and gusting to 85 kmph are likely along and off south Kerala over the next 48 hours and off south Tamil Nadu.
"The deep depression over Bay of Bengal and Sri Lanka since Wednesday turned into the cyclonic storm Ockhi at 11.12 am today and the core effects of that is felt with heavy rains, squally winds and high waves with rough sea along Kerala coast".
In Chennai, a few intermittent spells of rainfall can be expected.