Cuddalore: Cyclone Gaja has picked up speed since last afternoon and is set to make a landfall between Cuddalore and Pamban by the evening of November 15. Tamil Nadu is on alert; all schools are closed on Thursday. 
The government has announced that at least 30,500 personnel have been deployed for rescue operations. After the warning, the schools in Thanjavur, Tiruvarur, Pudukottai, Nagapattinam, Cuddalore, and Ramanathapuram have been closed today.

Satellite images indicate a leaner transformation in Cyclone Gaja, indicating that it will maintain the intensity till it makes a landfall. predicted heavy to very heavy rainfall during landfall.

Currently, the cyclone has moved about 100 km from Nagappattinam, hinting at a forward movement of about 10 kmph. But shortly, the speed of Gaja is likely to increase to about 12 – 15 kmph.  This will lead to heavy landfall over a smaller area.

There are also possibilities of Gaja crossing 50 km in Karaikal. If the intensity is maintained, parts of Delta districts could see wind gusts reach up to 120 kmph.  

In a few hours, heavy rainfall is likely to start and the cyclone is expected to touchdown the coast by evening.

At least 39 sites have been identified as low-lying areas and 15 rescue teams have been deployed along with 15 zonal level security committees. 135 departments, 429 panchayats have formed 388 primary rescue teams. The emergency helpline centre would operate 24 hours. 1077 is the free toll number people can call in case of distress and when in need of help. 23 centres, 32 schools, two colleges, 148 wedding halls have been kept ready as rehabilitation centres with food and water stored for the people. The fishermen have been warned against going into the sea. 

People can contact control rooms toll-free at 1070, 1077 or  1031 for help.