The severe cyclonic storm ‘Gaja’ crossed the Tamil Nadu coast between Nagapattinam and nearby Vedaranniyam early Friday with wind speed gusting up to 120 kmph.

The IMD on Friday said that the cyclone Gaja crossed by 12.30 a.m. and 2.30 a.m. between Nagapattinam and Vedaranyam with a wind speed of about 110 kmph gusting up to 120 kmph. The high speed wind has damaged the roof sheets of Nagapattinam railway station.

“Though the center of cyclone is over land, rear sector of eye wall is still over sea. It will take about an hour to move over land,” the IMD bulletin issued at 3.15 AM said.

According to Tamil Nadu State Disaster Management Authority, as many as 76,290 people were evacuated from low lying areas and sheltered at over 300 relief centres in six districts including Nagapattinam, Pudukottai, Ramanathapuram and Tiruvarur

A holiday has been declared for educational institutions in Nagapattinam.

Speaking to the media, R.B. Udhyakumar, Minister for Revenue and Disaster Management, said the extend to damages will be known once the wind speed gets reduced.

He said after the rains preventive measures against breakout of disease will be taken.

The fallen trees are being removed at the earliest, Udhayakumar added. The government had disconnected power supply on Thursday night as precautionary measure. Owing to the cyclone several power poles have been damaged.

Similarly, schools will remain closed on Friday in Nagapattinam, Cuddalore, Thanjavur, Pudukottai, Thiruvarur and several other districts in Tamil Nadu and in Puducherry including Karaikal.

Four teams each of National Disaster Response Force personnel have been already deployed in Nagapattinam district while two teams of the state disaster response force in Cuddalore district, officials said Thursday.

The state disaster management authority had released an animated video aimed at creating awareness on the do’s and don’ts during cyclone.

The government has announced helpline numbers 1070 (state-level) and 1077 (districts) for those who may need assistance.

(With agency inputs)