Union Earth Sciences Minister Harsh Vardhan said the IMD issued its first alert to Kerala about heavy rain on November 28 and a warning about the cyclone a day later.
Amid a political slugfest over Cyclone Ockhi, Union Earth Sciences Minister Harsh Vardhan said the IMD issued its first alert to Kerala about heavy rain on November 28 and a warning about the cyclone a day later. In a statement, Vardhan said on the afternoon of November 29, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) issued the first bulletin of the cyclone warning and it was conveyed to all district officials in Kerala, the state disaster management authority and the chief secretary. “In the first bulletin, the information was clearly provided on the possibility of further intensification of the system into a cyclonic storm and associated adverse weather.
“In the bulletin, there was a clear message for fishermen not to venture into the sea during the next 48 hours. This bulletin was repeated every three hours including on the night of November 29 and was still continuing,” Vardhan said. Therefore, the IMD bulletin of November 29 gave a “clear warning” of the ensuing adverse weather affecting the Kerala coast. Adverse weather including heavy rainfall and strong winds started off the Kerala coast only on the morning of November 30, he said. As the storm ravaged the state and left a trail of destruction, a blame game started over Cyclone Ockhi, with the Kerala government insisting that it received an IMD weather alert only on November 30, but Union minister Alphons Kannathananm said it was issued two days earlier. The cyclone has wrecked havoc in Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Lakshadweep, and left hundreds of fishermen stranded at sea.