Tamil Nadu and Puducherry went on high alert as the India Meteorological Department (IMD) elevated the "severe" Nivar to a "very severe cyclone" on Wednesday evening.
"Near latitude 10.2°N and longitude 82.0°E about 300 km east-southeast of Cuddalore, about 310 km east southeast of Puducherry and 370 km south southeast of Chennai". Authorities in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry, which are expected to take the brunt of cyclone Nivar, said precautionary measures were being taken while the central government assured all necessary help.
"It is very likely to intensify further into a Very Severe Cyclonic Storm during next 12 hours", the weather bureau said in another tweet. In Puducherry, public gatherings were banned from late Tuesday until early Thursday. "The Severe Cyclonic Storm NIVAR over southwest Bay of Bengal moved west-northwestwards with a speed of 06 kmph during past six hours and lay centred at 0230 hrs IST of 25th November, 2020 over southwest Bay of Bengal", it added.
Heavy to very heavy rainfall may pound the rest of North Interior Tamil Nadu, south Andhra Pradesh and south-east Telangana.
Areas in and around Chennai witnessed intense spells of rain, accompanied by strong winds on Wednesday.
The Greater Chennai Corporation, meanwhile said nil water stagnation has been ensured in all the 22 subways in the city and water logging in low lying areas being drained swiftly by using heavy duty motors and in about 52 locations, uprooted trees were removed quickly. Almost 30 flight movements (both arrival and departure) were cancelled as were 14 trains, while eight skipped the city. Vehicle movement was minimal as people remained indoors. A public holiday has been declared on Thursday in 13 districts where the cyclone is expected to have an impact.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke to Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami and Puducherry Chief Minister V Narayanasamy and assured all possible support from the Centre.
For the first time after the 2015 floods, the Chembarambakkam reservoir, the source of Chennai's drinking water requirements, neared its maximum capacity and was partially opened on Wednesday.