Kerala has been put on high alert given the possibility that Cyclone Burevi is likely to pass through Thiruvananthapuram district on Friday as it advances further on its westward journey into the Arabian Sea.
Disaster management mechanisms in Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam, Pathanamthitta, Alappuzha, Kottayam, Ernakulam and Idukki districts have been activated in anticipation of rainfall-related emergencies. The State government had identified 2,849 relief camps to evacuate people if needed, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said on Wednesday.
“Indications are that Burevi will make a landfall in southern Tamil Nadu on Friday morning and, by noon, it could enter Kerala,” Mr. Vijayan said, advising the public to maintain heightened vigil. People should not venture outside unless absolutely necessary from Thursday to Saturday, he said. So far 175 families (690 people) have been shifted to 13 camps, he said.
Eight teams of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) have been deployed in the seven southern districts. The State Emergency Operations Centre (SEOC) had assessed the evolving weather scenario and adopted necessary measures, Mr. Vijayan said. The Air Force, which has made arrangements at its Sulur station, and the Navy are on standby. The State government had apprised Prime Minister Narendra Modi of the steps taken to tackle contingencies, he said.
Going by the present indications, Burevi might weaken into a deep depression by the time it approaches Kerala, according to the India Meteorological Department (IMD).
The national weather agency has put Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam, Pathanamthitta and Alappuzha on red alert for extremely heavy rainfall for Thursday, while Kottayam, Ernakulam and Idukki are on orange alert. All seven districts are on orange alert for heavy to very heavy rainfall on Friday, and on yellow alert for isolated heavy rainfall on Saturday.
Given this scenario, the government is anticipating the possibility of flooding in low-lying and urban regions and landslips in the hilly areas. Squally winds with speeds touching 45-55 kmph and gusting to 65 kmph could lash Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam, Pathanamthitta and Alappuzha, the IMD said.
Cyclone Burevi was expected to cross the Sri Lankan coast on Wednesday night and emerge into the Gulf of Mannar near Kanyakumari by Thursday morning. The weather system is expected to cross the Tamil Nadu coast between Pamban and Kanyakumari by early Friday morning.
According to the IMD, Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam, Pathanamthitta and Alappuzha districts can expect damage to thatched huts, minor damage to power and communication lines due to falling of tree branches, major damage to kutcha and minor damage to pucca roads. Some damage to crops, including paddy and banana, and sea water inundation in low lying areas are also expected.
The State has suspended fishing activities till Saturday with sea conditions along Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Lakshadweep and Maldives coasts expected to be rough to very rough.