On Monday afternoon, as Cyclone Vardah made landfall near Pulicat, with wind speeds touching nearly 150 kilometres per hour, heavy rains lashed along the coastal districts. The wind did not howl, it roared. Battering sheets of rains bent tree trunks and branches, rattled the doors, windows and foundations of homes across the city.
Weather officials have said the storm is expected to subside by the evening, even though high velocity winds are still uprooting trees, and heavy rains continue to pound down on the North coastal districts of Tiruvallur and Kancheepuram in Tamil Nadu.
The Tamil Nadu government has requested residents of Ennore and Palaverkadu to evacuate. Accoding to ANI, the state government has claimed that 7,357 people have been evacuated to 54 relief centres safely so far.
A public holiday was declared in the state of Tamil Nadu as normal life was thrown out of gear. Residents have been advised to stay indoors, with tidal waves crossing the one meter high danger mark.
As the skies darkened over the coastal city, schools remain shut and public transport has also come to a halt. Nearly 50 flights have been delayed or diverted with a section of local train services suspended in the city, as the cyclone crossed the Chennai coast. Around 25 incoming flights were diverted to nearby Hyderabad and Bangalore airports due to strong winds and poor visibility, airport officials said. Nearly 25 outbound flights have been delayed.
Despite the fact that there were power outages in many parts of the state, social media users uploaded videos of the large scale devastation as heavy rains lashed the state.
Even the fisherfolk were nervous about the intensity of the cyclone.
“The wind is terribly strong here,” said K Bharati, vice-president of Mylai-Nochikuppam Fishermen’s Cooperative Society. The artisanal fishermen had kept their boats and fishing equipment away from the shore, in a place they deemed safe. But Bharati still went on rounds to see if they weren’t damaged.
“The last time I went was at10:30 am but the police had barricaded the road to the beach,” said Bharati. “Now we’ll know the state of our equipment only after the storm subsides.”
The viral blogger, Tamil Nadu Weatherman’s posts on Facebook had predicted that this cyclone will be more intense than any other since 1994.
Watch the storm travel across the state live here.
Politicians and celebrities are tweeting requesting people to remain indoors.