- Cyclone Vardah has hit Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh; states on high alert
- The IMD has predicted heavy rainfall close to 100-200mm in certain places in Chennai with wind gusts upto 110kmph
Tamil Nadu has meanwhile braced for this storm with the Tamil Nadu AIADMK administration having issued an advisory asking schools and private undertakings/establishments to permit their staff/children to avail holiday or work from home for today. The same is being followed in many of the IT and private companies.
As expected railways and air traffic has been affected. Operations at Chennai airport severely affected due to Vardah and close to 25 flights have been diverted and nine incoming flights delayed. Electricity in many areas have been shut off as a precautionary measure. 13 NDRF teams have been deployed for relief-related efforts in both the states while the Eastern Naval Command is also on alert and two Navy ships have been on standby for rescue and relief.
IMD has increased the landfall windspeeds to 110 km/hr and gusts to 120 km/hr. Rains will become intense now to very intense in next few hours. Heavy rain has already begun to pound the coastal areas and the city as well.
The MET department has predicted rainfall over south coastal Andhra Pradesh, north coastal Tamil Nadu and Puducherry over the next 36 hours (till Wednesday).
The tidal wave of about one metre height above the astronomical tide is very likely to inundate the low lying areas of Chennai, Thiruvallur and Kanchipuram districts of Tamil Nadu and Nellore districts of Andhra Pradesh during the time of landfall, says a Business Standard report.
Chennai citizens are being asked to stay indoors, avoid using public transport or even personal vehicles, stock up on emergency supplies and brace for until the storm passes so as to minimise casualties. Fishermen have also been alerted to stay indoors in advance as the sea had been behaving quite roughly for the past one week.
The good news is that 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 in Chennai sometime around afternoon.
Cyclone Vardah had formed in the Southeast Bay of Bengal on Thursday last and gone on intensifying since then. The cyclone had created heavy storm resulting in very heavy rains over Andaman and Nicobar . A fleet of seven ships and six helicopters evacuated all 2,376 tourists, including several foreign nationals, stranded in two islands of the Andamans due to cyclonic weather. The IAF in a statement said three MI-17V5 were pressed into service for the rescue operation.
Tropical cyclone Vardah is the strongest cyclone since October 2014 when cyclone Hud Hud moved into Andhra Pradesh, claiming over 100 lives and causing extensive damage. Vardah is the fourth major cyclone to rise out of the Bay of Bengal and hit India this year, after Roanu, Kyant and Nada.
For the Indian Ocean region, eight countries in the region -- Bangladesh, India, Maldives, Myanmar, Oman, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Thailand -- all contributed a set of names which are assigned sequentially whenever a cyclonic storm develops. 'Vardah', which means 'red rose' is a name given by Pakistan. We hope like its name it falls gently on South India.
It is going to be a difficult time for South India as apart from the cyclone it also is battling demonetisation like the rest of the country. Resources are scarce and to top that a cyclone is bringing destruction in its wake. Chennai is just having a bad week, first Amma’s death and now braving Cyclone Vardah.
Tamil Nadu helpline number: 044-28593990
Andhra Pradesh helpline number: 0866-2488000
Last Updated 31, Mar 2018, 6:47 PM IST