The cyclonic storm, ‘Nilam,’ which remained virtually stationary on Tuesday, is bearing down on northern parts of the State and is likely to cross the coast near Chennai by Wednesday evening.

At 8-30 p.m. on Tuesday, it lay centred about 450 km south-southeast of Chennai and 130 km north-northeast of Trincomalee (Sri Lanka). The system would move north-northwestward, according to a weather bulletin.

Y.E.A.Raj, Deputy Director General of Meteorology, says it is likely to move parallel to the coast, making it difficult for weather specialists to forecast precisely.

Rainfall

As regards rainfall, Dr Raj notes that except parts of northern and central districts, about 20 districts did not receive a single cm of rainfall during the 24-hour-period that ended at 8-30 a.m.

However, the maximum of 15 cm was recorded by Kollidam in Nagapattinam, followed by 12 cm in Vedaranyam and 11 cm each in Chidambaram and Sirkali.

Anticipating heavy rainfall on Wednesday, the authorities have declared a holiday for educational institutions in coastal districts including Chennai, Kancheepuram and Tiruvallur.

Even as the State administration is closely watching the storm movement, it has made adequate arrangements to meet any eventuality.

Enough stock of essential commodities is kept ready to cater to the needs of people who may require to be evacuated. Thirteen senior officers of the Indian Administrative Service (IAS) have been deputed to the coastal districts to monitor the situation, says an official.

Death toll

Round-the-clock control rooms have been set up in all the districts and in Chennai, the room can be contacted at 1070. Since the onset of northeast monsoon on October 17, as many as 42 werekilled, including two fishermen of Nagapattinam, who died in the mid-sea on Monday.

Ramanathapuram, Villupuram, Cuddalore and Tiruneveli accounted for five persons each. As many as 377 head of cattle perished.

One thousand three hundred and sixty one houses were damaged, of which 260 were fully damaged.