Chennai: The active cyclonic storm ‘Maichong’ over the Bay of Bengal has intensified into a severe cyclonic storm on Monday, as per the India Meteorological Department (IMD). The cyclone, which is moving west-northwestwards, is expected to cross the Tamil Nadu coast between Puducherry and Chennai by Tuesday afternoon.
The cyclone has brought heavy rainfall and strong winds to many parts of Chennai, resulting in waterlogging, traffic disruption, and property damage. Several areas of the city, such as Koyambedu, Velachery, T. Nagar, Anna Nagar, and Adyar, have witnessed severe flooding, with water levels reaching up to knee-high or even waist-high in some places. Many vehicles, including buses and cars, have been washed away or stranded in the floodwaters.
The Chennai airport has also been affected by the cyclone, as the runway and the terminal building have been inundated by rainwater. Several flights have been canceled or diverted due to adverse weather conditions. The airport authorities have advised passengers to check the status of their flights before leaving for the airport.
The Tamil Nadu government has declared a public holiday on Tuesday for all government offices, schools, and colleges in Chennai and 12 other districts given the cyclone. The government has also deployed the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), the State Disaster Response Force (SDRF), and the Fire and Rescue Services to carry out rescue and relief operations in the affected areas. The Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, M.K. Stalin, has urged the people to stay indoors and avoid unnecessary travel.
The IMD has issued a red alert for Chennai and its neighboring districts, warning of extremely heavy rainfall and wind speeds of up to 120 kmph due to the cyclone. The IMD has also advised fishermen not to venture into the sea along and off the Tamil Nadu and Puducherry coasts till Wednesday. The cyclone is likely to weaken gradually after landfall, but will still cause heavy to very heavy rainfall in some parts of Tamil Nadu and Puducherry till Thursday.
Cyclone Maichong is the second cyclone to hit the Tamil Nadu coast this year, after Cyclone Gulab in September. The cyclone is named Myanmar, which means ‘jasmine’ in Burmese. The cyclone is expected to cause widespread damage and disruption in Chennai and other coastal areas of Tamil Nadu and Puducherry, and the authorities have appealed to the people to follow the safety precautions and guidelines issued by them.