Volunteers worked through the night to pull the whales back into deeper water after island’s worst mass beaching.
The Burevi tropical cyclone is headed towards southern India, authorities said on Thursday, after it slammed Sri Lanka’s east coast earlier this week but caused little damage.
Burevi, the second cyclone in the southern Bay of Bengal in a week, slammed into north-eastern Sri Lanka just before midnight (18:30 GMT) on Wednesday.
The India Meteorological Department (IMD) issued a “red” warning to parts of the southern states of Tamil Nadu and Kerala and said the cyclone is expected to hit on Thursday or early on Friday. Another tropical cyclone killed at least 23 people in Tamil Nadu last week.
“Very to heavy rainfall is expected in southern Kerala and southern Tamil Nadu,” the IMD said.
India’s weather office said it expects damage to thatched huts, and that power and communication lines could be affected due to breaking tree branches. It also expects the storm to hit paddy crops, banana, papaya trees and orchards.
Kerala’s chief minister Pinari Vijayan said around 2,500 relief camps had been identified to relocate people from coastal and low lying areas.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted that the central government was ready to provide “all possible support”.
“Praying for the safety and well-being of those staying in affected areas,” Modi said.
The warning comes after Burevi’s packing winds of up to 90 kph (56 mph) hit Sri Lanka late on Wednesday but with little fallout.
“District disaster management units are reporting that no major damage has been caused by the cyclone,” said Pradeep Kodippili, assistant director at the country’s disaster management centre.
Authorities in Sri Lanka had evacuated more than 75,000 people, most of them from the Trincomalee area, before the Burevi cyclone hit.
But Kodippili said cyclonic conditions were still prevalent in the north with heavy rains and strong gusts of wind and that naval and fishing communities had been asked not to go out to sea.
Those evacuated from the Trincomalee district expected to be hit the hardest have been moved into 237 relief centres until the cyclone passes, disaster officials said.
Schools in the northern and eastern provinces, home to millions of people, have been shut until at least Friday.
Sri Lanka, India and Bangladesh depend on the monsoon for power generation as well as irrigation, but excessive downpours and storms cause casualties and destroy property almost every year.