Cyclone Ockhi: 4 killed in Tamil Nadu; Kerala on high alert

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One P8i aircraft, Navy Dornier and Coast Guard Dornier have also been pressed into search and rescue work.

Meanwhile, the Indian Navy has deployed five ships from Kochi while two are already on standby in Lakshadweep.

Manorama News reported that a larger boat that had rescued around 15 stranded fishermen was unable to come to the Thiruvananthapuram shores due to the turbulent sea and was moving towards the Kollam coast. 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.

Damage to paddy crops, banana, papaya trees and orchards has also been forecast while storm surge of about 1 meter above astronomical tides could very likely inundate low lying areas of Lakshadweep Islands from tonight, it warned.

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At least four trains connecting Thiruvananthapuram/Kollam and Nagercoil/Kanyakumari were cancelled and others rescheduled. A holiday has been declared for schools.

According to an India Meteorological Department bulletin issued at 08.30 am today, Ockhi continues to move to move west-northwestwards with a speed of 17 kmph. Restrictions are also in place on tourist movement in hilly and coastal regions.

In the state capital of Thiruvananthapuram, strong winds uprooted many trees and snapped power cables at many places. Schools in seven districts across the two states have been closed. Squally winds speed reaching 55-65 km gusting to 75 km/hour likely along and off Kerala coast. "Due to this heavy rains are expected in southern districts of Tamil Nadu and Kerala", the IMD said in a statement.

The Met office advised fishermen not to venture into the sea along and off south Tamil Nadu and south Kerala coasts and Lakshadweep Islands.