Cyclone Ockhi alert for TN and Kerala

Cyclone Ockhi, lashing parts of Tamil Nadu and Kerala with torrential rains and gusty winds, was approaching the Lakshadweep archipelago, a top official at the Ministry of Earth Sciences said Thursday.

Four people have died in Tamil Nadu. A 24-year-old man, Vishnu, was killed in Kerala's Kollam after a tree fell on his autorickshaw.

Madhavan Rajeevan, secretary in the ministry, said Lakshadweep would begin experiencing heavy rainfall and strong winds from tomorrow.

'It will hit the islands on December 2,' Rajeevan said. The cyclonic storm was 'very likely' to move west-northwestwards towards Lakshadweep Islands and intensify further into a severe cyclonic storm in the next 24 hours, the Cyclone Warning Division of India Meteorological Department (IMD) warned.

Mahesh Palawat, vice-president (meteorology and climate change) of Skymet, a private weather forecasting agency, said there was a possibility of flooding in the islands due to heavy rainfall.

Squally windspeed reaching 55-65 kmph and gusting to 75 kmph was very likely along and around Lakshadweep Islands during the next 12 hours, and may increase thereafter with wind speed becoming 80-90 kmph gusting to 100 kmph from tonight.

Sea conditions would be 'very rough to high' over and around Lakshadweep Islands during the next 12 hours and 'high to very high' during subsequent 48 hours, the IMD said.