Cyclone Nivar could hit hard and make landfall near Puducherry which, along with Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh, is on high alert.
There has already been one death attributed to the cyclone. A 25-year-old, who was chopping a drumstick tree in Pudukottai as a precaution ahead of the arrival of the cyclone, lost his life when the branches fell on a power line.
The NDRF has earmarked 30 teams to launch rescue and relief operations.
Fearing the winds to be worse than Vardah in 2016, the IMD had already a sounded red alert in Ariyalur, Mayiladuthurai, Thanjavur, Tiruvarur, Nagapattinam, Cuddalore, Villupuram, Tiruvannamalai, Kallakurichi and Perambalur. While an orange alert is issued in north coastal districts like Chennai, Kancheepuram, Tiruvallur, Chengalpet and interior districts like Vellore, Dharmapuri, Tirupattur and Krishnagiri.
Many trains and flights have been cancelled.
Kalpakkam's Madras Atomic Power Station has activated its Cyclone protection Machinery too.