Search Cyclone Gaja alert sounded in Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Puducherry,

Authorities on Sunday warned fishermen against venturing into the Bay of Bengal until Thursday and asked those in the mid-sea to return to shores as the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) issued a cyclone red alert for Tamil Nadu, Puducherry, and Andhra Pradesh.

Cyclone Titli had earlier made landfall on October 11 and left 62 people dead in Odisha.

The IMD said the cyclone Gaja was approaching coastal Tamil Nadu (east-northeast of Chennai) and east-southeast of Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh. It said the cyclonic storm has moved westwards with a speed of 12 kmph.

The cyclone was centered about 460 km northwest of Port Blair (Andaman Islands), 930 km northeast of Chennai (Tamil Nadu) and 980 km southeast of Sriharikota (Andhra Pradesh) on Sunday.

“It is very likely to intensify further into a severe cyclonic storm during the next 24 hours,” an IMD bulletin said.

“There will be a cyclonic storm, which may not be of severe intensity. So, fishermen in these states have been asked to stay away from the sea till November 15,” said IMD meteorology director M Mohapatra.

The IMD predicted the cyclone was likely to move towards northern Tamil Nadu and southern Andhra Pradesh coasts by Tuesday.

“Therefore, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, and Puducherry will receive heavy to very heavy rainfall on November 14 (Wednesday), which will not be less than 20 cm. The cyclone with speeds of 80-90 kmph gusting to 110 kmph winds is likely to travel along north Tamil Nadu and southern Andhra Pradesh coasts,” the IMD said.