The severe cyclonic storm ‘Jal,' which lay centred on Saturday evening 500 km east southeast of Chennai, is expected to bring heavy rain in and around Chennai in the next couple of days.

The rainfall could be over 25 cm in one or two places in and around Chennai. ‘Jal' is expected to cross between Puducherry and Nellore coast on Sunday night, according to a bulletin issued by the Meteorological department.

Officials of the department said a squally weather with wind speed reaching 65 to 75 km per hour would prevail along the Tamil Nadu and Puducherry coast. Storm surge of about 1 to 2 metres above the astronomical tide may inundate the low-lying coastal areas of Tiruvallur, Kancheepuram and Chennai districts. The city would experience showers on Monday too, the officials said.

Several government agencies are gearing up to tackle the situation. The Chennai Corporation has set up a 24-hour control room. Apart from the Corporation's toll free helpline 1913, residents can contact 25386386 or 25619336 for assistance.

Inspecting the monsoon-preparedness work on Saturday, Mayor M.Subramanian asked residents to avoid parking vehicles beneath trees. He said 20 equipment for cutting and removing trees were being kept ready. Relief centres had been opened in four locations. At least 157 motor pumps would be used for baling out stormwater.

Boats were being readied for evacuating people from low-lying areas, he said. Stormwater drains and waterways had been desilted and medical teams formed.

In a public appeal, the Tamil Nadu Electricity Board warned people against going near or touching snapped electrical cables and walking in stagnant water near transformers and pillar boxes. It said people should use dry rubber footwear before operating electrical equipment.

In case of electrical shock, residents must switch off the mains and inform the nearby TNEB office. Residents may contact the helpline 28521109, 28524422 and 155333 during emergency.

Huts marooned

On Saturday night, 25 huts in the fishermen colony at Pudupattinam Kuppam and Oyalikuppam near Kalpakkam were marooned due to a sudden high-tide activity along the coast. At 7.30 p.m. seawater entered the waterway linking Buckhingam Canal and the sea near Pudupattinam Kuppam.