Ockhi cyclone inches closer to Kerala: Death toll rises to 4

Cyclone Ockhi on way to Kerala, TN

The India Meteorological Department (IMD) on Friday said the cyclonic storm Ockhi has intensified into severe cyclone and lies at about 110 kilometer northeast of island Minicoy and likely to cross Lakshadweep during next 24 hours.

At least five Navy ships have been deployed from Kochi, two ships on standby in Lakshadweep, and two ICG ships each deployed from Kochi and Tuticorin, for search and rescue operation.

Manorama News reported that a larger boat that had rescued around 15 stranded fishermen was unable to come to the Thiruvananthapuram shores due to the turbulent sea and was moving towards the Kollam coast.

Four ships of Indian Navy and 2 ships of Indian Coast Guard have been deployed for the rescue operations. Four trains were partially cancelled due to cyclonic wind and incessant torrential rain between Nagercoil-Kanyakumari, Nagercoil Thiruvnanthpuram and Nagercoil-Tirunelveli sections. Power supply was badly affected in many parts of the affected districts with KSEB trying to restore the supply till late night. Several houses and vehicles were damaged with high velocity winds uprooting trees, electric posts and advertisement hoardings at many places.

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As the rain refused to let up, districts across Tamil Nadu have declared holidays for schools and colleges. The IMD recorded an "isolated very heavy rainfall" of 15 cm in Aryankavu in Kollam district. Fishermen in the southern part of these states have also been advised not to venture into sea for 24 hours.

Early Thursday, the southern districts of Kerala were already being pounded by rain, and the Met Department said it is likely to continue right up to Saturday.

Squally winds with speed reaching 55 to 65 kmph, and gusting to 75 kmph, are also very likely along and around Lakshadweep Islands.

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