Chennai, Dec 12 : With the Heavy rain and winds tropical cyclone Vardah hits the coastal region of Tamil Nadu and AP. The cyclone is currently at category 1 strength, but is expected to weaken to a tropical storm with sustained winds of 80 to 90 kmph (50 to 56 mph) as it makes landfall.
The Indian Meteorological Department has issued heavy rain warnings for southern India. According to CNN Tropical cyclone Vardah is expected to bring extremely heavy rainfall to Chennai in the southeast state of Tamil Nadu and the state of Andhra Pradesh. Tropical cyclone Vardah is the first cyclone on the Bay of Bengal to reach hurricane force in 2016.
India's labor department has also issued an advisory instructing companies to allow employees to work from home. According to Krishna Kumar spokesperson NDRF More than 170 relief camps have been set up in Chennai and several NDRF teams have been deployed to Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh. Cyclone Vardah has hit land with wind speeds of between 120 and 130 kmph.
It is said that tropical cyclone Vardah is the strongest cyclone since October 2014 when cyclone Hud Hud moved into Andhra Pradesh, claiming over 100 lives and causing $3.4 billion in damage. Metrological experts reported that, Vardah could also hit fishing villages located along the coast of Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu.
Two people have died due to Cyclone Vardah making landfall at Pulicat, about 60 km from capital Chennai. The cyclonic storm will take about four hours to cross land completely.
Over 7,000 people have been evacuated from near the sea in Tamil Nadu and more than 9,000 in Andhra Pradesh. The Navy said it has two ships ready with doctors, food and water for 5,000 people. 30 diving teams with additional relief material are also on the ready.
Almost 50 flights were delayed or diverted to and from Chennai this morning and suburban train services have been suspended. All schools and colleges will remain close. The Tamil Nadu Government has asked private offices to allow their staff to take a day off or work from home.
The National Disaster Management Authority advised people "to remain in safe places and cooperate with state government officials and disaster management agencies". Senior officials have been sent to the districts that are likely to be on the path of the cyclone. 174 relief centres are ready to receive evacuated people in Chennai.
The storm is expected to damage thatched huts, power and communication lines. Army, Navy, Air-force and Coast Guard are also geared up to lend a helping hand when required.