Update at 13:50 PM : Tamil Nadu CM E Palaniswamy said, "Nagapattinam district has been heavily damaged by the cyclone. In total, 471 relief camps have been established in which 81,948 people are staying. We"ll seek assistance from central government after assessment is done by our officials in the affected areas. I have got information that 11 persons have died because of the cyclone till now. Government will give Rs 10 lakh rupees to the kin of the deceased, Rs 1 lakh rupees to those severely injured and Rs 25,000 to those who received minor injuries".
"Two dead and one injured in Tamil Nadu's Cuddalore district", MC Sampath, State Minister, says, "People who have lost their lives in the cyclone will be given ex-gratia by the state govt."
Gagandeep Singh Bedi, In-charge for Disaster Management Officer said that Cuddalore district has been moderately affected. "Due to the moderate rainfall and winds, there are many instances of trees falling down. Since administration was on alert nothing major has happened,"he said.
The severe cyclonic storm 'Gaja' crossed the Tamil Nadu coast between Nagapattinam and nearby Vedaranniyam early on Friday with wind speed gusting up to 120 kmph, a weather bulletin said.
According to the Tamil Nadu State Disaster Management Authority, as many as 76,290 people were evacuated from low lying areas and sheltered at over 300 relief centres in six districts including Nagapattinam, Pudukottai, Ramanathapuram and Tiruvarur.
A holiday has been declared for the educational institutions in Tamil Nadu's Nagapattinam.
An India Meteorological Department (IMD) bulletin said, "severe cyclonic storm Gaja crossed Tamil Nadu and Puducherry coast between Nagapattinam and Vedaranniyam ...with wind speed of 100-110 kmph gusting up to 120 kmph, early on Friday."
"Though the center of the cyclone is over land, the rear sector of eye wall is still over sea. It will take about an hour to move over land," the IMD bulletin issued at 3.15 AM said.
However, Deputy Director General of Meteorology S Balachandran told PTI, the cyclone will take another two hours to fully cross the coast.
The severe cyclonic storm is very likely to move nearly westwards and weaken gradually into a cyclonic storm during the next six hours, the IMD said.
During the cyclone's landfall, rains lashed Nagapattinam, Tiruvarur, and Thanjavur, uprooting trees in several regions, the details of which is expected later in the day. The NDRF teams are clearing out the area.
Electricity supply was disconnected here and in several other coastal regions in view of the cyclone's landfall.
Four teams each of National Disaster Response Force personnel have been already deployed in Nagapattinam district while two teams of the state disaster response force in Cuddalore district, officials said on November 15.
The state disaster management authority had released an animated video aimed at creating awareness on the do's and don'ts during the cyclone.
The government has announced helpline numbers 1070 (state-level) and 1077 (districts) for those who may need assistance.