With a depression over Southeast Arabian sea likely to intensify in the next 48 hours, Kerala government on Tuesday issued a fresh alert and directed officials to be prepared to face any emergency.

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan asked chief secretary Paul Antony to take stock of the present situation after the Met office said the weather system was likely to intensify into a deep depression and bring heavy rains.

The fresh alert comes hours after the state government on Monday night asked officials to ensure return of fishermen engaged in deep-sea fishing in view of the weather system. The well marked low pressure in the Indian Ocean has now intensified into a depression and moved to the South East Arabian sea.

An IMD bulletin said rain and thundershowers are likely to occur at many places from March 13 to 15 with isolated heavy rainfalls likely over south Tamil Nadu and south Kerala. It said squally winds with speeds reaching 45-55 kph and gusting to 65 kph was likely over Comorin area and along and off south Tamil Nadu, south Kerala and Lakshadweep coasts in the next 48 hours.

The depression has moved north to northwest with a speed of about 20 kph and lay centred over South East Arabian Sea, adjoining equatorial Indian Ocean. It lay about 420 km southeast of Minicoy, 350 km south to southwest of Thiruvananthapuram and 290 km east to northeast of Maldives and was very likely to move north to northwestwards and intensify into a deep depression in the next 48 hours.

With the sea likely to be very rough from Comorin to Maldives and over Lakshadweep and adjoining southeast Arabian sea, fishermen have been advised not to venture into the sea along and off the Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Lakshadweep coasts in the next three days, starting on Tuesday.

The depression comes months after Ochki cyclone hit the coasts of the state, neighbouring Tamil Nadu and union territory of Lakshadweep in November-December 2017, claiming the lives of several fishermen and leaving many missing.

The Kerala government had then faced the ire of fishermen over handling of the situation. The BJP had also charged the LDF government with failing to protect its fishermen "despite early warning" about the cyclone.

(With PTI inputs)