Cyclone Michaung triggers ‘red alert’ in Chennai – Top updates  

Cyclone Michaung will make landfall along the Andhra Pradesh and north Tamil Nadu coasts on December 5.

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Courtesy: ANI

A red alert has been issued across Tamil Nadu as cyclone ‘Michaung’ neared landfall on Sunday, triggering intense rainfall submerging Chennai’s roads, and halting trains while flight operations remained hampered too.

IMD report on Cyclone ‘Michaung’ 

According to the India Meteorological Department (IMD), the cyclonic storm centred in the southwest Bay of Bengal is likely to make landfall between north Tamil Nadu and adjoining south Andhra Pradesh coasts on December 9 by evening or night as a severe cyclonic storm packing wind speeds around 100 kmph gusting to 110 kmph.

The IMD has warned the system will continue moving northwestwards and cross the coasts between Puducherry and Sriharikota carrying the threat of torrential rains and flooding.

Schools, colleges shut amid rain fury

Meanwhile, Chennai is already pounded by non-stop overnight downpours, traffic crawled at a snail’s pace while schools and colleges stayed shut alongside government offices and courts. Hundreds remained stranded at railway stations after a dozen trains were cancelled over waterlogging on tracks.

Several express trains from Chennai Central have halted after tracks flooded with a danger mark breached at the Basin Bridge railway crossing submerging nearby slum clusters too. Suburban train services also remain suspended temporarily till at least 8 AM Monday across sections.

Trains halted due to rain fury in Chennai

Moreover, 11 long-distance trains originating from Chennai Central Station were announced as cancelled after tracks flooded between Basin Bridge and Vyasarpadi.

"In view of water levels reaching the danger mark at Bridge No 14, services have been regulated temporarily. We regret the inconvenience caused,” the railways said about the shutdown lasting till Tuesday morning.

Flights cancelled

According to PTI, at least 12 domestic outbound services, including to destinations like Ahmedabad and Thiruvananthapuram were cancelled in Chennai.

Four international services, including to Dubai and Srilanka were also cancelled by a private carrier, the news agency reported, citing unidentified officials. Three arriving international services were diverted to Bengaluru.

With conditions expected to severely deteriorate as the cyclonic storm nears landfall, disaster relief teams remained on standby while public machinery continued assisting citizens and clearing roads.

Section 144 imposed in neighbouring areas

People near coastal areas have also been cautioned and temporary prohibitions imposed. To ensure safety, Puducherry district officials enforced Section 144 of the CrPC along seashores banning assembly of groups while urging folks to remain indoors given the turbulent weather.

The weather agency predicts that ‘Michaung’ will maintain intensity as it barrels northwestwards over the next 24 hours.

As Tamil Nadu battens down amid its second cyclone in under two weeks, emergency services emphasized preventive preparation by communities ahead of the looming weather threat that could leave a trail of destruction if not handled cautiously.

The administration has restricted the movement of all persons on the coastal areas near the seashore from 7 pm on December 3 until 6 pm on December 5. The step has been taken to prevent any loss of life or property.

"Any person violating this order shall be liable to be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to six months, or with fine or both", the official notice stated.