Large parts of coastal belt along Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh has been put on high alert with a severe cyclonic storm, named ‘Vardah’ set to make landfall between Sriharikota and Chennai this afternoon. Over 15 teams of NDRF have been deployed in various coastal regions of Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh for relief and rescue efforts.
The armed forces have also been asked to be on standby with the army, navy and air force prepared to be deployed anytime as and when required.
National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) chief RK Pachnanda said while eight teams are ready in various areas of Tamil Nadu, seven are in Andhra Pradesh, apart from few others in nearby locations.
“Some more teams are on alert in Arrakonam and Guntur and they can be transported immediately in case they are required. We are in constant touch with the two state governments, the Indian Meteorological Department and other relief agencies,” the NDRF Director General told press Monday morning.
Heavy rains have been lashing Chennai, Tiruvallore and Kancheepuram districts since early morning. Power supply was suspended in many parts of these regions as a precautionary measure.
In Andhra Pradesh, Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu directed the Nellore district administration to evacuate people in about 255 low-lying areas to safer places even as the district started receiving rainfall since morning.
Under the influence of Vardah, Nellore and Chittoor districts are expected to receive heavy rainfall.
Rail and Airways services impacted
Rail and flight services here were affected with around 25 incoming flights, including those from international destinations, were diverted to the nearby Hyderabad and Bangalore airports due to strong winds and poor visibility, airport officials said.
Nearly 25 outbound flights were delayed, officials said, adding that there was no inundation of the runway despite heavy rains.
The Southern Railway has announced the suspension of services on the Chennai Beach and Velacherry MRTS route. Similarly suburban rail services on the MMC-Gummidipoondi line were also suspended until further notice. Some passenger trains coming to Chennai and leaving the city were also diverted.
Meanwhile in Andhra Pradesh, the South Central Railway has cancelled some passenger trains between Sullurpeta and Chennai in view of the cyclone.
The Vijayawada-Chennai-Vijayawada Pinakini Express has been diverted via Renigunta and Arrakkonam while some other express trains on the Chennai route have also been diverted via Arrakkonam.
An emergency management team was on standby to meet any eventuality, the authorities have assured.
(With inputs from the PTI)