At least 8 dead as Cyclone Ockhi lashes Tamil Nadu and Kerala

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The storm was expected to move toward the Lakshadweep archipelago and hit the islands on December 2.

Responding to a request for assistance made by District Collector of Trivandrum, the Indian Navy dispatched its ships and aircrafts in a search and rescue operation.

5 Navy ships have been deployed from Kochi, two ships are on standby in Lakshadweep.

According to media reports, seven fishing boats and one local fisherman, who ventured into the sea from Thiruvananthapuram district, earlier this morning, are "missing". A couple - Appu Nadar, 73, and Sumathi, 68 - also died due to the cyclone.

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, defence statement added.

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Besides Chennai, the authorities have closed schools Kanyakumari, Tuticorin, Kancheepuram, Villupuram, Madurai, Theni, Thanjavur and Thiruvarur for the day. Four trains were partially cancelled due to cyclonic wind and incessant torrential rain between Nagercoil-Kanyakumari, Nagercoil Thiruvnanthpuram and Nagercoil-Tirunelveli sections. A holiday has been declared for schools. The IMD recorded an "isolated very heavy rainfall" of 15 cm in Aryankavu in Kollam district. Power supply was badly affected in many parts of the affected districts with KSEB trying to restore the supply till late night.

The Met office advised fishermen not to venture into the sea along and off south Tamil Nadu and south Kerala coasts and Lakshadweep Islands.

The National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and army are awaiting distress call to serve as heavy rains and winds are expected to continue for the next 12 hours.

Squally weather has been forecast for towns along the south Kerala coast with winds up to 55 kmph blowing.

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