Storm warning: Kerala on high alert after depression in Arabian Sea deepens

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Sea condition will be "rough" to "very rough" over Comorin-Maldives area and adjoining sea areas during until tomorrow and over Lakshadweep area and adjoining South-East Arabian Sea until Thursday. The ruling LDF government, criticised for its alleged late response to the cyclone, has already taken emergency measures, sending SOS messages to the coast to prevent fishermen from going out to sea.

The well-marked low-pressure area over Equatorial Indian Ocean has intensified into a depression 390 km South-South-West of Thiruvananthapuram and is on course for another round of strengthening. All coastal taluk control rooms will work round the clock till March 15 and coastal relief shelters will be open. It said the formation of a depression over the southeast Arabian sea is likely to transform into a deep depression and move northwestwards. Forecast indicates rain or thundershower at many places on Tuesday and isolated heavy showers are expected over south Kerala on March 14 and across Kerala on March 15.

The chief minister had instructed officers concerned to ensure that no fishermen ventured out to sea.

The India Meteorological Department has classified it as a "very severe cyclonic storm", a designation for tempests with wind speeds reaching 137 miles an hour.

The Chief Minister also called for a top level meeting to be attended by authorities such as chief secretary Paul Antony, state police chief Lokanath Behera, fisheries principal secretary B Sreenivas, Met director S Sudevan and other officials. The warning would be apply for along and off the rest of Kerala on Thursday.

For a state that suffered extensive damage, especially to its southern coast, and heavy loss of lives when Cyclone Ockhi wreaked havoc late previous year, a repetition of the same fear and panic is likely to be experienced among the coastal communities again. The depression comes barely months after Cyclone Ocki battered the coasts of Kerala in November 2017. Cyclone Ockhi also raised questions about the government's preparedness to deal with major natural calamities.