Thiruvananthapuram: Kerala, which was destroyed by the south-west monsoon in August, is bracing for more rains with a low-pressure area likely to form over the southeast Arabian Sea. The state government stepped up disaster preparedness on Thursday.

A red alert has been issued in three districts of Kerala for extremely heavy rain that is likely to occur in many parts of the state from Thursday to Saturday.  According to the Indian Meteorological Department,  the red alert has been issued in Idukki, Thrissur and Palakkad districts. 

Kerala's neighbour, Tamil Nadu, has initiated measures following an IMD forecast that the state may receive heavy to very heavy rainfall in most places and extremely heavy rain in some areas on October 7, officials said.

An India Meteorological Department (IMD) bulletin said the low-pressure area could intensify into a cyclonic storm, triggering heavy to very heavy rainfall in several parts of Kerala.

In view of the IMD forecast, a red alert has been sounded in Idukki and Malappuram districts with heavy rains expected on Sunday.

According to the bulletin, a cyclonic circulation over the southeast Arabian Sea and adjoining Lakshadweep and Maldives areas extended "up to the middle tropospheric level in the morning of Thursday and under its influence, a low-pressure area is very likely to form over the southeast Arabian Sea by October 6".

"It is very likely to concentrate into a depression and move northwestward during subsequent 36 hours and intensify further into a cyclonic storm and move towards Oman coast," the bulletin said.

Reviewing disaster preparedness, a meeting of Disaster Management Authority officials held on Thursday asked officials concerned to monitor the water levels in dams considering the forecast.

Sluice gates of dams in Thrissur and Palakkad districts were lifted this evening to drain out excess water.

The sea condition is also expected to be very rough from Saturday and fishermen have been warned not to venture into the deep sea.

The state had witnessed the fury of the southwest monsoon in August, the worst in the last 100 years, which claimed 493 lives and swamped several districts.

Officials in Chennai said district collectors in Tamil Nadu had been instructed to take necessary precautionary action, adding that meetings have already been called to review northeast monsoon preparedness.

Deputy Director General of Meteorology, Chennai, S Balachandran told reporters at Chennai that rains were likely in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry in the next three days, with the possibility of heavy rainfall in one or two places.

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K Palanisami had chaired a review meeting in Chennai on Friday to monitor the preparedness of state machinery in the wake of the heavy rainfall warning.  

Many areas in the state, including Chennai, and the neighbouring union territory of Puducherry received rains in the last 24 hours with some parts receiving heavy showers, he said.

Most educational institutions in the union territory remained closed on Thursday because of the intermittent rains which started on Wednesday night, officials said.

Waterlogging was reported in some residential areas in the outskirts of the town. Traffic came to a standstill at some important junctions, they added.