The India Meteorological Department (IMD) on Friday said the cyclonic storm Ockhi has intensified into severe cyclone and lies at about 110 kilometer northeast of island Minicoy and likely to cross Lakshadweep during next 24 hours.
The cyclone has created widespread havoc, bringing normal life to a halt. Hence, schools in Chennai, Kanyakumari, Tuticorin, Kancheepuram, Villupuram, Madurai, Theni, Thanjavur and Thiruvarur will remain closed today.
At least five Navy ships have been deployed from Kochi, two ships on standby in Lakshadweep, and two ICG ships each deployed from Kochi and Tuticorin, for search and rescue operation.
A P8I aircraft, the Navy Dornier and the Coast Guard Dornier have also been deployed for the same. Helicopters are kept ready on standby.
Earlier, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman also confirmed that several naval ships were deployed for rescue operations as Tamil Nadu and Kerala brace for the cyclonic storm Ockhi.
Cyclone Ockhi that has created massive destruction in Tamil Nadu and Kerala is now moving towards Lakshwadeep Islands.
In a series of tweets, Sitharaman further informed that six warships and two coast guard ships have been deployed along with additional air effort.
The India Meteorological Department (IMD) has already issued an alert of heavy to very heavy rainfall in both the states.
The depression in southwest Bay of Bengal had snowballed into the cyclonic storm- Ockhi.
The cyclone has so far claimed the lives of four people in both Kerala and Tamil Nadu.
The deadly storm has killed seven people in neighbouring Sri Lanka and affected the lives of nearly 20,000 people.