At least 8 dead as Cyclone Ockhi lashes Tamil Nadu and Kerala

Cyclone Ockhi on way to Kerala, TN

Cyclone Ockhi: At least 8 dead in Tamil Nadu, Kerala; storm to intensify as it heads towards Lakshadweep

The cyclone has so far claimed the lives of four people in both Kerala and Tamil Nadu.

Sivaganga Collector G. Latha has declared a holiday for schools in five taluks in Sivaganga education district today. Kochi and Tuticorin have also deployed two Indian Coast Guard (ICG) ships.

The cyclone which was caused by a deep depression in the Bay of Bengal has already brought heavy downpour to major areas in Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Puducherry.

Over 270 fishermen have not returned to the Thiruvananthapuram coast, triggering widespread panic in the coastal belt. The Met Centre advised fishermen in Kerala and Tamil Nadu against venturing into the sea following forecast of squally weather with wind speed reaching 65 kmph to 85 kmph along the coast. Four trains were partially cancelled due to cyclonic wind and incessant torrential rain between Nagercoil-Kanyakumari, Nagercoil Thiruvnanthpuram and Nagercoil-Tirunelveli sections.

The authorities in these state have taken several precautionary measures which include shutting down of school and colleges and issuing an advisory to people asking them to stay inside their houses. The advisory highlighted dangers in using the forest route to the hill shrine and resting under trees.

Due to overflowing of Pamba river downhills, vehicles were moved from the parking area at Pamba and pilgrims had been asked to avoid night trekking to the hill shrine. The KSDMA alert will remain in force till December 2. The cyclone however is expected to gain strength by Friday. Gandhi was scheduled to address a gathering at the Shankhumukham Beach here, at the culmination of Padayorukkam, a state-wide rally led by Opposition Leader Ramesh Chennithala.

In the state capital of Thiruvananthapuram, strong winds uprooted many trees and snapped power cables at many places.

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