Two die as cyclone hits coastal India

People in low-lying areas have been asked to move to safer zones.

More than 170 relief camps have been set up in Chennai and several National Disaster and Reponse Force (NDRF) teams have been deployed to Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh, according Krishna Kumar, a spokesman from the NDRF.

Wind speeds topped 300 km per hour (186 mph) in an Indian "super-cyclone" that killed 10,000 people in 1999, while a cyclone packing speeds of more than 200 kph (124 mph) lashed the east coast in 2013.

Flight operations at the airport in Chennai have been suspended till 5 pm.

Normal life came to a grinding halt as persistent rains since last night, gradually gained intensity at the break of dawn in the North coastal districts like Chennai, Thiruvallur, and Kancheepuram, which were battered by heavy rains.

The railways cancelled suburban rail services and diverted some long distance trains.

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Southern Railways says electrical overhead lines were severely impacted by the cyclone.

Strong wind of up to 140 kph (87 mph) battered the densely populated coast, uprooting trees and bringing down electricity pylons. Over 9,400 people have also been evacuated from along the Bay of Bengal coast in SPS Nellore district of Andhra Pradesh.

A auto was damaged after an uprooted tree fell on it. As many 224 roads were blocked and 24 huts damaged.

SriLankan Airlines today said all its Chennai-bound flights were cancelled till tomorrow morning after authorities issued a red alert due to severe cyclonic storm "Vardah" which made a landfall in Tamil Nadu.

Severe cyclonic storm "Vardah" is likely to hit north Tamil Nadu and south Andra Pradesh soon. All educational institutions in Chennai, Kanchipuram and Thiruvallur districts will remained closed on Tuesday.

Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu announced in evening that Andhra Pradesh was ready to extend all necessary help to neighbouring Tamil Nadu that bore the brunt of "Vardah".

  • Myrtle Hill