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  India   All India  12 Dec 2016  Cyclone Vardah weakens; 4 die in Tamil Nadu, thousands evacuate

Cyclone Vardah weakens; 4 die in Tamil Nadu, thousands evacuate

Published : Dec 12, 2016, 6:47 pm IST
Updated : Dec 13, 2016, 2:48 pm IST

Vardha will turn into a 'cyclonic storm' in next 3-4 hours, the India Meteorological Department said.

A person wades through road filled with water during heavy rainfall as cyclone Vardah made landfall near Chennai coast on Monday. (Photo: PTI)
 A person wades through road filled with water during heavy rainfall as cyclone Vardah made landfall near Chennai coast on Monday. (Photo: PTI)

Chennai: Heavy rains accompanied by high-velocity winds pounded the city and coastal districts of north Tamil Nadu as severe cyclonic storm "Vardah" commenced its landfall through the coast, killing four people and forcing the evacuation of thousands of people from low-lying areas.

While two persons died in Chennai, one was killed in Kancheepuram and one in Nagapattinam, National Disaster Management Authority said.

The cyclone has shown signs of weakening and will turn into a 'cyclonic storm' in next 3-4 hours, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said.

Meanwhile, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh assured the Tamil Nadu government of extending all help to the state in the wake of cyclone 'Vardah'.

"Singh called up Chief Minister O Panneerselvam and enquired about the situation in the aftermath of cyclone Vardah crossing the districts of Chennai, Kancheepuram and Thiruvallur," a government statement said.

"The Union Home Minister assured the Chief Minister that the Centre would extend all help required by the State Government in this regard," it added.

Vardah, which triggered strong winds of nearly 100 km/h, uprooted hundreds of trees and disrupted power supply lines besides land and air transport, throwing normal life out of gear.

"The cyclone is still crossing, only the eye portion has crossed... Presently it is calm. The entire system is expected to fully cross coast between 6 pm and 7 pm," a top IMD official told PTI in Chennai.

Showers and heavy winds will resume once the eastern portion of the system begins to blow over, the official said.

However, the respite is Vardah is "weakening" and is expected to be turn into a "cyclonic storm" in next three hours, said M Mohapatra, IMD Additional Director General (Services).

"The Cyclone made its landfall near Chennai between 2:30 pm to 4:30 pm bringing in winds clocking 11-120 kmph. It is showing signs of weakening and the wind speed will reduce to 60-70 kmph in next 3-4 hours," he said.

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister O Panneerselvam urged people in Chennai, Tiruvallur and Kancheepuram districts – where ‘Vardah’ brought life to a virtual halt - not to venture out of their homes till an official announcement was made.

Two persons had died and 24 huts were damaged, most of them in Tiruvallur district, according to an official statement.

About 8,000 people from low-lying areas in north Chennai, Pazhaverkadu in Tiruvallur district and villages off Mamallapuram, in Kanchipuram district were safely evacuated to 95 relief shelters, officials said.

Authorities here were seen swiftly removing uprooted trees and restoring snapped power lines, trying to bring normalcy to enable vehicular traffic to resume.

The IMD's latest inputs indicated that heavy wind and rains would continue till about 7 PM, Panneerselvam said, adding all arrangements are in place to handle the situation.

Coastal regions of northern Tamil Nadu - Chennai, Tiruvallur and Kanchipuram - continue to be on high alert even as people in low-lying areas were accommodated in relief centres.

Fishermen from Adyar and Tiruvanmiyur areas were accommodated in local schools and food and blankets were being distributed to them. State Ministers are visiting relief

centres and inspecting distribution of food to the people, an official release said.

Under the impact of "Vardah", hundreds of trees were uprooted, land and air transport was disrupted and normal life was thrown out of gear in many areas.
Eight fishermen belonging to Tamil Nadu were rescued from the sea near the Sriharikota High Altitude Range while search was on for ten more persons feared trapped at sea.

"The police and CISF personnel are on the job and all the ten fishermen are safe. But they are somehow reluctant to come to the shore. We will soon bring them out," Nellore Superintendent of Police Vishal Gunni told PTI over phone.

The South Central Railway has cancelled some passenger trains between Sullurpeta and Chennai in view of the cyclone.

The Vijayawada-Chennai-Vijayawada Pinakini Express has been diverted via Renigunta and Arrakkonam. Some other Express trains on the Chennai route have also been diverted via Arrakkonam.

Meanwhile, all operations at Chennai airport have been suspended till 10 pm.
The earlier forecast made by the IMD was that it would weaken into a cyclonic storm, thereby reducing its intensity considerably.

At 9:30 am, the cyclone was lay centered around 105 kms east-northeast of Chennai. By the time it makes a landfall, its wind speed is expected to be 100-110 kmph with winds gusting up to 120 kmph.

The wind speed during a very severe cyclonic storm is 120 to 130 kmph. In a severe cyclonic storm the wind speed is somewhere between 110 to 80 kmph.
One of the major reasons for destruction in any cyclone is the wind velocity, apart from heavy to heavy rains and flooding.

Rainfall at most places with isolated heavy to very heavy falls over south coastal Andhra Pradesh, north coastal Tamil Nadu and Puducherry is very likely during the next 36 hours.

The rainfall intensity will increase gradually becoming heavy to very heavy rainfall (7-19 cm) at a few places and isolated extremely heavy rainfall (20 cm) over Chennai, Thiruvallur and Kanchipuram districts of Tamil Nadu and Nellore and Prakasam districts of Andhra Pradesh on December 12, the IMD said.

Meanwhile, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh spoke to Tamil Nadu CM O Panneerselvam and Andhra Pradesh CM N Chandrababu Naidu and assured all help from the Centre.

Tags: cyclone vardah, home minister rajnath singh, imd
Location: India, Tamil Nadu, Chennai (Madras)