Southern Kerala on Thursday afternoon was lashed by heavy rain and strong winds, causing trees to be uprooted at several places in Thiruvananthapuram and Kollam districts that blocked traffic. Navy, coast guard, air force and local police have launched a massive operation to rescue them.
5 Navy ships have been deployed from Kochi, two ships are on standby in Lakshadweep.
The authorities have opened relief camps at various places to accommodate people being evacuated from the affected areas including coastal areas.
At least 12 fishing boats set off to the seas from Thiruvananthapuram and Kollam coasts on Wednesday night reportedly went missing.
Responding to a request for assistance made by District Collector of Trivandrum, the Indian Navy dispatched its ships and aircrafts in a search and rescue operation. Kochi and Tuticorin have also deployed two Indian Coast Guard (ICG) ships.
Weathermen have named the storm Ockhi and forecast a lashing for southern and central Kerala as the low pressure system makes for Lakshadweep. A couple - Appu Nadar, 73, and Sumathi, 68 - also died due to the cyclone. The government appealed to the people to remain indoors in view of the torrential rains and high velocity winds.
The IMD had earlier issued a "heavy to very heavy rainfall" warning in both the states.
As the rain refused to let up, districts across Tamil Nadu have declared holidays for schools and colleges. Fishermen have been advised not to venture into sea for the next 24 hours.
The report added that Kerala can expect heavy winds that can reach up to speeds of 85 kmph along South Kerala coast. "It is very likely to continue to move west-northwestwards across Lakshadweep Islands during next 24 hours and then move north/northeastwards during the subsequent 48 hours", said the bulletin.