India – Cyclone Nivar Causes Floods in Tamil Nadu

Officials in the state of Tamil Nadu, India, said at least 3 people died during the passage of Cyclone Nivar after it made landfall to the north of Puducherry on 26 November 2020.

Cyclone Nivar over southern India and Sri Lanka, 24 November 2020. Image Credit: MODIS Land Rapid Response Team, NASA GSFC

Wind gusts of 145 km/h caused severe damage across Tamil Nadu, including over 1,000 trees uprooted.
According to reports from news agency Press Trust of India (PTI), some low-lying areas were marooned due to water-logging in Tamil Nadu including parts of Chennai, following heavy rains in the wake of the cyclone. Flooding was also reported in the union territory of Puducherry.

Authorities in Tamil Nadu said thousands of people had been moved to safe shelters across the state in preparation. A public holiday was declared for 25 and 26 November in order to limit damage from the storm.

Chennai Municipal Corporation said 53 Relief Centres were opened across the Greater Chennai area, and as of 25 November, were housing 2,700 people. A further 7,000 people in various parts of the city were provided with food and relief items.

A strong emphasis was placed on preparation and disaster prevention in the city which came under severe criticism during the devastating floods of November and December 2015. Talking about the city’s response this time around, Greater Chennai Commissioner Mr. G. Prakash IAS, said, “Chennai tackled the heavy rains and cyclonic storms with improved infrastructure and Integrated Command and Control Centre’s tracking on real time basis to avoid major damages.”


In a 6 hour period to early 26 November, Cuddalore in Tamil Nadu recorded the 246 mm of rain Puducherry 237mm according to the India Meteorological Department.

Chennai Municipal Corporation said the district of Sholinganallur in the city recorded 220mm of rain in 24 hours to 26 November and Mylapore 263.60 mm during the same period.

India’s Central Water Commission reported several rivers were above the danger mark, including the Araniyar (also known as Arani) river at Puduvayal in Tiruvallur district of Tamil Nadu.

Nivar is likely to bring moderate to heavy rainfall over areas of Tamil Nadu, Puducherry and Andhra Pradesh over the coming days.

Meanwhile, via Social Media, Tamil Nadu State Disaster Management Authority warned of further severe weather forming in the Bay of Bengal which could intensify and reach the Tamil Nadu coast on 02 December 2020.

Rainfall in Greater Chennai 26 November 2020 after Cyclone Nivar in India. Credit: Greater Chennai Corporation
Rainfall in Greater Chennai 25 November 2020 after Cyclone Nivar in India. Credit: Greater Chennai Corporation
Levels of the River Araniyar at Puduvayal in Thiruvallur District, Tamil Nadu, shot up after rainfall from Cyclone Nivar in India. Credit: CWC FFC

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