Bracing for Cyclone Nivar: Helplines and all else you need to know


Heavy to very heavy rainfall has been predicted for Chennai as Cyclone Nivar makes landfall. A view of Outer Ring Road, Pic: Avinash D

Cyclone Nivar is the first cyclonic storm to hit Tamil Nadu since the devastating Cyclone Gaja in 2018. The cyclone is expected to cause heavy to extremely heavy rainfall and strong winds. The cyclone is set to make landfall between Karaikal and Mamallapuram around midnight of November 25th (and early 26th).

The India Meteorological Department (IMD) has stated that the wind speed of Cyclone Nivar will be at 100-120 kilometre per hour (KMPH), gusting up to 140 KMPH in Chennai, Tiruvallur, Kanchipuram and Tiruvarur districts.

The tentative path of the cyclone set to make landfall between 25th and 26th. Pic: IMD

In view of the approaching cyclone, the sluice gates of Chembarambakkam reservoir were opened by noon to prevent inundation in the upstream stretches of the tributaries of Adyar river. As of 8 am today, the water level in the reservoir stood at 21.65 feet. About 1,000 cusecs has been released into the Adyar River around noon. 

The total capacity of the reservoir is 3,645 mcft and the present storage level stands at 3,028 mcft. 

Low-lying areas along Greater Chennai Corporation’s (GCC’s) Zone 10, 11, 12 and 13 — namely Kanu Nagar, Soolai Pallam, Thideer Nagar, Burma Colony, Jafferkhanpet, Kotturpuram and Chithra Nagar, Adyar River — and areas such as Kundrathur, Sirukalathur, Tirumudivakkam and Tiruneermalai have been warned of floods. Residents living in the areas have been directed to move to the nearest GCC shelters.

Helplines for Zones 10-13

  • +91 94451 90210
  • + 91 94451 90211
  • +91 94451 90212
  • +91 94451 90213

Popular weather blogger Pradeep John noted that the cyclone is expected to cross between Pondicherry and Chennai near Mahabalipuram and Kalpakkam areas on the night of November 25th to morning of November 26th. The distance between Mahabalipuram and Chennai is not much, and with minor deviations in its movement, there are slight chances that the cyclone might even land over Chennai.

Taluk wise rainfall data Chennai as on November 25th. Graphic: GCC

Safety measures to adopt

  • Keep an emergency kit ready: Rope, candles, torchlight, matchbox, batteries, band aid, knife, non-perishable rations, drinking water, medicines, glucose
  • Download TNSMART mobile application for quick, official updates
  • Do not panic, ignore rumours
  • Keep the windows and doors closed
  • Listen to the radio, watch TV, read newspapers for weather updates.
  • Keep your mobile phones, laptops and power banks charged
  • Keep your documents and valuables in waterproof containers
  • Untie animals to ensure their safety
  • Switch off electrical mains and gas supply
  • If your house feels unsafe, leave early, before the onset of the cyclone
  • Drink boiled or chlorinated water
  • Rely only on official warning

When you are outdoors

  • Do not enter damaged buildings
  • Watch out for broken electric poles, wires and other sharp objects
  • If you are at a shelter, remain there until you are informed that you may return home safely
  • Get inoculated against diseases immediately
  • Avoid loose, dangling wires from lamp posts
  • Do not park your vehicle under a tree
  • Avoid riding/driving in vehicles when the cyclone makes a landfall

When the cyclone is about to make landfall, the wind speed will initially reduce. After a brief gap, the speed will gradually increase before the cyclone completes the landfall. Do not venture out until the IMD declares that the cyclone has made landfall.

The Chennai Corporation has advised the removal of all hoardings in light of the heavy winds expected due to the landfall.

List of helplines

Emergency helpline: 044 2538 4530, 044 2538 4540 , 1913 (24*7)

GCC Flood control: 044 2433 1074

Chennai Metro Water: 044 2845 4040 / 044 4567 4567

Ambulance service: 108 / 044 288 88105 / +91 73388 95011

Dedicated helpline for specially-abled persons: 18004250111

Whatsapp video calling helpline for speech and hearing-impaired persons: +91 97007 99993

Electricity board:

  • Chennai North: +91 94458 50929 / 044 2852 1833
  • Chennai Central: +91 94454 49217 / 044 2822 4423
  • Chennai West: +91 944585 0500 / 044 2615 1153
  • Chennai South-I: +91 94458 50434 / 044 2471 3988
  • Chennai South II: +91 94990 50188 / 044 2371 3631
  • Chengalpet: +91 94440 99437 / 044 2752 2119
  • Kancheepuram: +91 94458 58740 / 044 2728 2300

Click here to find the GCC Monitoring Officials’ list

List of relief centers:

Residents who live in areas that face the threat of flooding or are affected by the rains may reach out to the shelters run by the Greater Chennai Corporation for relief.

Click here to find the list of GCC relief centres

Inputs from Greater Chennai Corporation’s and Tamil Nadu State Disaster Management Authority (TNSDMA).

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