Heavy rains expected this morning but storm will be marginal, say officials; fisherfolk asked to stay off sea

Even as the city is just recovering from the first spell of northeast monsoon rains, a deep depression over southwest Bay of Bengal on Monday is expected to intensify into a cyclonic storm and revive the monsoon over Chennai.

Cyclone Nilam is likely to be a marginal cyclonic storm. The wind speed is expected to reach up to 90 km per hour but may not cause wind damage.

Strong surface winds prevailed across the city owing to the deep depression located 500 km south-southeast of Chennai. With the winds raging at 70 km per hour, motorists had a tough task riding on the dusty roads. Some motorists even had a tough time balancing their vehicles as they passed through Kamarajar Salai.

Chennaiites can expect heavy rains on Tuesday as the weather models indicate that the cyclonic storm is likely to develop by Tuesday morning or late evening. It is expected to move westwards towards Trincomalee and then north-westwards. The cyclonic storm may cross north Tamil Nadu and adjoining south Andhra Pradesh coast between Nagapattinam and Nellore on Wednesday midnight.

The city’s beaches were a popular destination on Monday as residents gathered to witness the rough seas and surging waves Several fishermen from hamlets along the coastline from Ennore to Pattinapakkam stayed off the sea as they were warned against fishing. P. Panneerselvam of Ennore said that only fishermen in fibre boats ventured out into the Ennore creek. Trawlers were returning to the coast. “The sea is rough. But, it has not affected the hamlets so far,” he added.

According to the Meteorological department, distant cautionary signal number one has been hoisted at Chennai port. This is the lowest among the signals, which indicates the potential cyclonic storm.

“It may be similar to cyclone Nisha that struck the Tamil Nadu coast in November 2008. Its wind speed was only 85 km per hour and was more of a rainstorm,” he said.

As the spatial extent of Nilam would be more, several coastal districts, including Chennai, of the State are likely to get heavy rainfall on Tuesday and Wednesday.

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