The Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) informed on Friday that severe cyclonic storm Mandous has weakened into a cyclonic storm about 180 km northeast of Karaikal. It is likely to cross north Tamil Nadu, Puducherry and adjoining south Andhra Pradesh coasts between Puducherry and Sriharikota around Mahabalipuram around midnight. 

The weather department had earlier put Tamil Nadu, Puducherry and south Andhra Pradesh on high alert and asked residents to brace for heavy rain. A red alert has also been issued in 13 districts of Tamil Nadu, with parts of Chengalpattu, Villupuram, Kancheepuram, and Puducherry bracing for extremely heavy rainfall. 

"Heavy to very heavy rain at a few places with extremely heavy falls at one or two places is likely to occur over Kancheepuram, Chengalpatta and Villupuram districts of Tamil Nadu and Puducherry," the IMD has said. 

Cyclone 'Mandous' has weakened into a cyclonic storm from a severe cyclonic stormReuters

Further, the Regional Meteorological Centre has stated that light rain is expected in Mylapore, Pallavaram, Alandur, Ayanavaram, Purusaiwakkam and Shollinganallur areas of Chennai in the afternoon hours of Friday.

The storm surge of about 0.6 mts in height above the astronomical tide is likely to inundate low-lying areas of north coastal Tamil Nadu and Puducherry at the time of landfall.

"Most atmospheric and oceanic conditions are favourable for cyclogenesis, including sea surface temperature, ocean heat content and energy, so it will gain intensity for tonight. But on Friday, as it moves closer to the land, Mandous will weaken into a cyclone again. We are also expecting dry winds from land to help weaken it," said M Mohapatra, the director general of IMD. 

Cyclone Mandous
Cyclone Mandous

In view of this, schools and colleges will be closed in nearly 27 districts, including Chennai, Tiruvallur, Chengalpattu, Kancheepuram, Ranipet, Vellore, Villupuram, Cuddalore, Thiruvarur, Thanjavur, Perambalur, Ariyalur, Pudukkottai, Salem, Namakkal, Tirupattur, Kallakurichi, Nagapattinam, Mayiladuthurai, Tiruchy, Dharmapuri, Thiruvannamalai.

Additionally, the state government has also advised people to avoid unnecessary travel and keep ready a torch or candles, batteries, dry fruits, and drinking water ready. It has also asked the officials to ensure all measures are followed, including a prior announcement of the release of surplus water from reservoirs.

Release of surplus water

As the rain has been continuing in Chennai since Thursday, water levels in Chembarambakkam and Poondi reservoirs are on a rise. The authorities have decided that surplus water be released from Chembarambakkam and Poondi reservoirs from 12 p.m. onwards on Friday.

Surplus water was to be released at 100 cubic feet per second from Chembarambakkam, Poondi and Puzhal reservoirs. The Chennai district authorities have warned people living in certain low-lying areas of Chennai to be cautious as water would be released from the lakes.

The Greater Chennai Corporation has already put in place rescue workers, including the NDRF teams to handle any emergency situation arising out of the cyclonic storm that is likely to touch the land by Friday night.