New Delhi: The Kerala government was alerted on November 29, a day before Cyclone Ockhi struck, that the sea will get very rough along the Kerala coast, said secretary, ministry of earth sciences, M Rajeevan.
“The officials at the meteorological center in Thiruvananthapuram had also informed those concerned in the state government over the phone,” he added.
The first message that the fishermen from Tamil Nadu and south Kerala should not venture out into the sea was given at 11.50 am on November 29.
Since it was not sent as an ordinary weather report but as a special bulletin, the onus was on the Kerala government to take necessary precautionary measures.
The bulletins contained satellite images of the depression. The warning messages were conveyed to the chief secretary of Kerala and the chief administrator of Lakshadweep.
Since there were complaints that the Kerala government was not informed on time, union minister of environment, forest and climate change, science & technology & earth Sciences, Harsh Vardhan, examined the bulletins from the India Meteorological Department (IMD).
It also came to light that Sudevan, who is in-charge of the meteorological department in Thiruvananthapuram, had informed senior officials in the state government over the phone.
Warnings and alerts
First alert (11.50 am, Nov 29)
The depression that has developed along the Sri Lankan coast gaining strength 500 km southeast off Kanyakumari. It is moving west-northwest direction and will strengthen in the next 24 hours. Rain expected across southern Kerala and heavy rain likely in some places.
Wind alert: The coast long southern Tamil Nadu and southern Kerala likely to experience wind at a speed of 65 kmph.
Sea conditions: Across the Kerala-Tamil Nadu-Lakshadweep coastline, the sea will be very rough in the next 48 hours.
Warning to fishermen: Fishermen from Kerala-Tamil Nadu coast are advised not to venture out into the sea for the next 48 hours. On December 1 and 2, fishermen should not go to the sea in Lakshadweep.
Second alert (2.15 pm, Nov 29)
The depression that has reached 360 km east-south of Kanyakumari is moving in the west-north direction. The depression will gain strength in 24 hours. Heavy rain likely in southern Tamil Nadu and southern Kerala. (The alert for wind, sea conditions and fishermen repeated)
Third alert (7.15 pm, Nov 29)
The depression located 340 km south-east of Kanyakumari will move west and is likely to gain strength in the 24 hours. Heavy rain likely in southern Kerala in 24 hours and very heavy rain in the next 24 hours. The third alert was repeated on November 29 night (fourth time) and November 30 early morning (fifth time).
Sixth alert (8.30 am, Nov 30)
The depression located 170 km south-east of Kanyakumari to develop into a cyclone in 12 hours. Heavy rain in southern Tamil Nadu and southern Kerala in 24 hours. In 24 hours, wind velocity will be 75 kmph and in the next 24 hours it will increase to 90 kmph. Sea will be very rough. Trees likely to be uprooted and houses likely to be damaged in Lakshadweep. Crop loss too likely.
Fishermen should not venture out into the sea for 48 hours.