Train and flight schedules hit; holiday declared for schools, colleges today

One person died, several trees were uprooted and roads across the city wore a deserted look on Sunday as the ‘Jal' cyclone inched closer to the north Tamil Nadu coast.

According to police, 57-year-old Sivaprakash was crushed to death after a tree fell on him at Nageswara Rao Park in Mylapore. The incident happened when he was on his daily walk around 8 a.m. Following this, the Chennai Corporation closed all parks in the city.

The strong winds and showers since Saturday night forced residents to remain indoors, disrupted flight and train schedules, and resulted in the district administration of Chennai, Kancheepuram and Tiruvallur declaring a holiday for schools and colleges on Monday.

Exams rescheduled

With the cyclone expected to bring more showers, the University of Madras announced postponement of its regular examinations scheduled for Monday in its affiliated colleges.

The new dates will be announced later. It has also postponed all undergraduate and professional degree examinations scheduled for Monday. A press release from Controller of Examinations T Leo Alexander said the revised date for the examinations would be announced in due course. Anna University has also postponed the semester examinations. Revised dates will be announced later.

Meteorological Department officials said the cyclonic storm, which lay about 150 km east-southeast of Chennai, would weaken further and move west north-westwards and cross the coast between Chennai and Nellore.

Between 8.30 a.m. and 5.30 p.m., the observatory in Nungambakkam and Meenambakkam registered a rainfall of 41.6 mm and 36.4 mm respectively. The forecast for Monday said the sky would be overcast with intermittent rain spells, heavy at times, and surface winds will be strong and gusty. On Sunday, the Chennai Corporation received 48 calls to remove uprooted trees in various localities. It received 23 calls pertaining to water-logging.

Those living close to the coast moved to safer locations and fishermen shifted their boats and belongings away from the shores. Over 15 flights in both international and domestic sectors were delayed and a few were diverted due to the inclement weather and poor visibility at the Chennai airport. Seven flights belonging to Indian Airlines, one of SpiceJet and three flights each of Kingfisher Airlines and Jet Airways were diverted, airport sources said. The flights were diverted to Hyderabad and Bangalore.

In the international sector, an Air Asia flight was diverted to Bangalore and an Air India Express from Colombo went back, the sources added.

Cholan Express from Tiruchi to Chennai was delayed by two hours as a tree fell on the track. Vaigai Express suffered a two-hour delay, but it was attributed to an engine snag.