Cyclone Ockhi on way to Kerala, TN

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

Five Navy ships have been deployed from Kochi and two ships are on standby in Lakshadweep.

Sea conditions would be high along and off south Kerala coast during next 48 hours and along and off south Tamilnadu coast during the next 24 hours.

In a series of tweets, Sitharaman further informed that six warships and two coast guard ships have been deployed along with additional air effort.

The ships and aircraft would carry out search and rescue operations in the area and would continue to remain at sea for any assistance required by the civil administration till the cyclone crossed the coast.

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The Met has forecast heavy rains for Thursday and Friday in southern Tamil Nadu and Lakshadweep and also parts of Nicobar Islands.

At least four trains connecting Thiruvananthapuram/Kollam and Nagercoil/Kanyakumari were cancelled and others rescheduled.

Collector K.S. Kandasamy has declared a holiday for schools in Tiruvannamalai district due to heavy rain. Restrictions are also in place on tourist movement in hilly and coastal regions. Residents have also been asked to stay indoors with the Indian Meteorological Department predicting heavy to very heavy rainfall in the next 24 hours.

Besides Chennai, the authorities have closed schools Kanyakumari, Tuticorin, Kancheepuram, Villupuram, Madurai, Theni, Thanjavur and Thiruvarur for the day. In many places, strong winds also caused trees to be uprooted damaging houses and vehicles.

The report added that Kerala can expect heavy winds that can reach up to speeds of 85 kmph along South Kerala coast. "Due to this heavy rains are expected in southern districts of Tamil Nadu and Kerala", the IMD said in a statement.