No threat to Goa from cyclone 'Ockhi'

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"Sea conditions are very likely to be high along and off south Kerala and south Tamil Nadu coasts and around Lakshadweep islands, thunderstorms accompanied with squall and lightning very likely at isolated places over Tamil Nadu and Kerala", said a report released on Thursday evening.

A deep depression formed in Bay of Bengal has intensified into a cyclonic storm Ockhi affecting the southern coast with heavy rains and cyclonic winds. Fishermen have been advised not to venture into sea for the next 24 hours.

State Police Chief Loknath Behra said directions have been issued to district police superintendents and coastal police to evacuate people stranded in low lying areas.

In Chennai, Chief Minister K Palaniswami said state and national disaster response force teams have been rushed to Kanyakumari district, where more than 500 trees and almost 1,000 electric poles were uprooted.

Chief Minister K Palaniswami, who reviewed the situation, said in Chennai state Ministers and senior IAS officials have been assigned to affected districts to monitor relief work. "Kanyakumari, Tirunelveli, Virudhunagar will receive heavy rainfall".

He said almost 3,000 electric poles have been uprooted in the district, affecting power supply.

The state government declared a holiday for educational institutions for the day.

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A powerful storm coupled with heavy rains hit several parts of Sri Lanka, killing at least four persons and disrupting air traffic and essential services, authorities said today.

Four people were killed in rain-related incidents in Kollam and Thiruvananthapuram districts Thursday even as seven districts of southern and central Kerala were put on alert.

"Do not come out of homes in Kanyakumari, Tuticorin, and Tirunelveli stay safe indoors and take precautions do not panic", it said in a tweet. Appu Nadar, 75 and his wife Sumathi, 65 were electrocuted from an electric pole which was got uprooted by strong winds at Killi near Kattakada.

A couple of trains, originating and passing through Kanyakumari suffered partial to full cancellation and some were rescheduled, Southern Railway officials said.

Authorities have also cautioned fishermen not to venture out in the sea. Several houses and vehicles were damaged with high velocity winds uprooting trees, electric posts and advertisement hoardings at many places.

At least 12 fishing boats set off to the seas from Thiruvananthapuram and Kollam coasts on Wednesday night reportedly went missing.

The Southern Naval Command was also gearing up for any humanitarian assistance and disaster relief that may be required in view of the cyclone in the southern parts of Kerala, defence statement added.

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