Kerala on high alert after warning of depression over Arabian Sea

Heavy rainfall predicted in coastal Kerala and Tamil Nadu fishermen advised caution

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has sent out instructions to the authorities to keep fishermen off the sea until Thursday. "The NDMA has warned that fishermen from Kerala coast should not venture into the seas till March 15", the chief minister said. "We have been informed that the depression has deepened and it is now 390 km south-southeast of Thiruvananthapuram coast", read CM's Facebook post.

A high alert has been sounded in south Kerala after a low-pressure area over the Indian ocean intensified into a "deep low pressure" and lay anchored 391 km off the Thiruvananthapuram coast. Coast Guard ships are on standby while the government has set up two control rooms in Alappuzha and Thiruvananthapuram.

The department has forecast isolated heavy rainfall and thundershower in the southern parts of Tamil Nadu and Kerala and Lakshadweep till Thursday.

Meanwhile, the state's chief secretary Paul Antony met senior officers of various departments to review preparations.

Though the Regional Specialised Meteorological Centre (RSMC) has alerted that the low pressure has the potential of cyclone genesis Low to Moderate in 24 to 72 hours, IMD and KSDMA scientists have made it clear that cyclone is not predicted as yet.

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It is very likely to move initially west-northwestwards and then northwestwards and concentrate into a depression over the southeast Arabian Sea (Maldives area) during the next 36 hours. He said the warning for fishermen will be in force till Thursday.

For a state that suffered extensive damage, especially to its southern coast, and heavy loss of lives when Cyclone Ockhi wreaked havoc late a year ago, a repetition of the same fear and panic is likely to be experienced among the coastal communities again.

"Fishermen should not venture into the sea".

However, the government along the the State Disaster Management Committee have issued early warnings and are taking measures to safeguard the coastal areas this time.

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