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New Delhi, Nov 30: Cyclone Ockhi lashed parts of Tamil Nadu and Kerala with torrential rains and gusty winds and is approaching the Lakshadweep archipelago, reports claimed. According to a top official at the Ministry of Earth Sciences, the cyclone is set to hit the islands on December 2. Till Thursday, one death caused by heavy rains in Kerala, and four in Kanyakumari, has been reported, while government announced closure of schools on Friday to avoid mishaps.

According to Madhavan Rajeevan, secretary in the ministry, the archipelago in the southern part of the Arabian Sea will start experiencing heavy rainfall and strong winds from Friday. As per a warning issued by the Meteorological Department, the storm is likely to move west- northwestwards towards the Lakshadweep Islands and intensify into a severe cyclonic storm in the next 24 hours.

Press Trust of India quoted vice-president (meteorology and climate change) of Skymet, Mahesh Palawat, who said there is also a possibility of flooding in the islands due to heavy rainfall.

The IMD further said heavy-to-very-heavy rainfall at isolated places were “very likely” over south Tamil Nadu, south Kerala during the next 24 hours. “Rainfall will occur at most places, heavy to very heavy rainfall at a few places, and extremely heavy rainfall at isolated places very likely over Lakshadweep area during next 48 hours,” it said.

Squally wind speed reaching 55-65 kmph and gusting to 75 kmph was very likely along and around Lakshadweep Islands during the next 12 hours and may increase thereafter with wind speed becoming 80-90 kmph gusting to 100 kmph from tonight, PTI reported.

In an earlier report, it was stated that Kerala disaster management agencies have planned ahead for all kinds of emergency. They also said units are in position to evacuate coastal areas of the state if necessary.

Apart from that warning have been issued for the pilgrims to the Sabarimala temple.

IMD also said sea conditions would be “very rough to high” over and around Lakshadweep Islands during the next 12 hours and “high to very high” during subsequent 48 hours.