The storm named "OCKHI" is likely to gather strength in the next 24 hours to become a severe cyclonic storm as it moves towards the Lakshadweep Islands. "Spoke to @India Coast Guard Commandant who admits his vessels have so far been inadequate for search and rescue but 2 bigger vessels on their way".
5 Navy ships have been deployed from Kochi, two ships are on standby in Lakshadweep.
At least 12 fishing boats set off to the seas from Thiruvananthapuram and Kollam coasts on Wednesday night reportedly went missing. A total six warships and coast guard ships have been deployed. The Southern Naval Command was also gearing up for any humanitarian assistance and disaster relief that may be required in view of the cyclone in the southern parts of Kerala.
The India Meteorological Department (IMD) has already issued an alert of heavy to very heavy rainfall in both the states.
The depression in Southwest Bay of Bengal had snowballed into the cyclonic storm "Ockhi", it said. Shutters of Neyyar Dam were opened following heavy rain in catchment areas.In Idukki district, a portion of St Sebastian's school fell down, but no injuries have been reported so far.
Heavy rain has been pounding Kerala capital since morning bringing life to a standstill
In the state capital of Thiruvananthapuram, strong winds uprooted many trees and snapped power cables at many places.
As the rain refused to let up, districts across Tamil Nadu have declared holidays for schools and colleges.
Squally weather has been forecast for towns along the south Kerala coast with winds up to 55 kmph blowing.
Meanwhile, four people have lost their lives in Tamil Nadu while there have also been reports about damage to property.
Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) posted image of cyclone warning for south Kerala, adjoining districts of south Tamil Nadu and Lakshadweep Islands.
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