Cyclone Nilam batters Chennai, Cuddalore and Puducherry

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November 1, 2012

Chennai: Cyclone Nilam created havoc in Chennai, Cuddalore and Puducherry with heavy winds of over 50-100 kmph barrelling in from the Bay throughout the day.

Cyclone Nilam batters Tamil Nadu and Pondicherry

November 1, 2012

Chennai: Cyclone Nilam created havoc in Chennai, Cuddalore and Puducherry with heavy winds of over 50-100 kmph barrelling in from the Bay throughout the day.

Cyclone Nilam batters Tamil Nadu and Pondicherry

The cyclone, which was of lesser intensity than cyclone Thane, which hit the coast in December 2011, had a land fall near the temple town of Mamallapuram, 35 km south of Chennai, in the evening.

In the afternoon, an Indian flag vessel, Pratibha Cauvery, with 37 members on board and carrying bunker oil, drifted to the shores of Elliots beach in Besant Nagar from the Chennai port’s outer anchorage in the strong winds and ran aground.

There was chaos in many parts of the city with huge trees uprooted by the strong winds, creating traffic jams all over. There was a power cut in many parts of the city for most part of the day.Most of the commercial establishments and offices worked only half a day. The State Government too asked employees of Government offices and private establishments to leave for home at around 3 p.m.

The 28,741 dead weight tonne Pratibha Cauvery, which belongs to the Mumbai-based Pratibha Shipping, was in the Chennai port’s outer anchorage since yesterday afternoon, but drifted ashore at 2. 21 p.m. following heavy winds of nearly 100 kmph. The ship is currently sighted at Besant Nagar beach in South Chennai, and is lying 3.50 nautical miles south off the port.

The ship was carrying two tonnes of light diesel oil and 355 tonnes of furnace oil. About 20 crew members jumped into the water to take the life boat. However, the boat capsized and the crew members tried to swim ashore.

Coast Guard and local fishermen were involved in the rescue operations, according to a senior Chennai Port Trust official.

While offices functioned in the morning, government offices and private establishments such as HP, Cognizant and Murugappa, among a host of others, asked employees to leave early to avoid the impact of the cyclone. Ashok Leyland's plant at Ennore, which is close to the coast, cancelled the night shift.

Logistics operations were also impacted by the cyclone. Online retailers such as Myntra and Hoopos said there was a delay in making deliveries to customers across Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh due to the weather conditions and traffic pile-up, creating a minor back-log in their delivery schedule. Retailers have sent out emails to their customers apprising them of a possible delay.

There is a partial shutdown at Shasun Pharmaceuticals' plants in Cuddalore and Puducherry, with only critical operations running. The Tamil Nadu Government had a contingency plan at work during the day. Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa chaired a Cabinet meeting in the morning to chalk out the plan on the likely impact from the cyclone. She ordered the supply of essential commodities such as water and milk, and ensured that there was adequate inventory of kerosene and diesel, said a State Government press release.

The Government put up shelters and moved people from low-lying areas into the shelters. It warned people not to venture into the sea.

At the Madras Atomic Power Station (MAPS), Kalpakkam, there was no interruption of the two reactors due to the cyclone. All operating safety was taken to meet any eventuality from the cyclone. The MAPS was on high alert as the cyclone was heading towards it.

Kalpakkam, being a coastal site, all the structures and equipment were designed to withstand even a wind velocity of 160 km/hr, said a MAPS press release. Meanwhile, the State Government has announced holiday for schools and colleges tomorrow.

Logistics operations hit

Logistics operations have also been impacted. Online retailers such as Myntra and Hoopos are facing a slight delay in making deliveries to customers across Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh due to the weather conditions and traffic pile-up in certain areas, creating a minor back-log in their delivery schedule. Retailers have sent out e-mails to their customers apprising them of possible delays.

There is a partial shutdown at Shasun Pharmaceuticals' plants in Cuddalore and Puducherry, with only the critical operations running. Plants of Ashok Leyland at Ennore, which is close to the coast, functioned only till 2 pm. Murugappa group offices too worked only half a day.


Courtesy: Reuters

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