Rail and flight services here were affected by heavy rain and strong winds that lashed the city and other coastal areas of Tamil Nadu due to cyclone Vardah, officials said.
According to reports quoting the Indian Met department, the landfall will be complete in four hours.
Around 25 incoming flights, including those from international destinations, were diverted to the nearby Hyderabad and Bangalore airports due to strong winds and poor visibility, airport officials said.
Two persons were killed as heavy rains accompanied by high velocity winds today pounded the city and coastal districts of north Tamil Nadu due to severe cyclonic storm “Vardah” which began making landfall near here, uprooting hundreds of trees, disrupting land and air transport and throwing normal life out of gear.
“The landfall process of cyclone Vardah has begun,” the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said.
According to M Mohapatra, Additional Director General (Services) of IMD, the “eye” of the Cyclone is 20 kms off Chennai.
“The wind speed near Chennai 90-100 kmph. Heavy rains and storm surge is expected. Landfall process has commenced at 2 PM. The cyclone will cross between 2-5 PM,” Mohapatra said.
Power supply was suspended in many parts of these regions as a precautionary measure. 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.
Flight operations at the airport here have been suspended till 5 PM.
Long distance buses have been stalled and traffic came to a grinding halt in most areas with uprooted trees and electric poles blocking the roads.
All suburban train services have also been suspended.
Southern Railway announced cancellation of all 17 trains originating from Chennai central, as well as Egmore.
State Principal Secretary (Revenue Administration) K Satyagopal said “human loss is two”, without elaborating.
In a statement, he said 260 trees and 37 electric poles had fallen and 190 tress removed. As many 224 roads were blocked and 24 huts damaged. .
Twitter have been posting the images of devastation caused by the cyclone.
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Nearly 25 outbound flights were delayed, officials said, adding that there was no inundation of the runway despite heavy rains.
An emergency management team was on standby to meet any eventuality, they said.
The Southern Railway meanwhile, announced suspension of services on the Chennai Beach and Velacherry MRTS route.
Similarly suburban rail services on the MMC-Gummidipoondi line were also suspended until further notice. Some passenger trains coming to Chennai and leaving the city were also diverted.
Elsewhere, over 9,400 people living along the Bay of Bengal coast in SPS Nellore district of Andhra Pradesh were evacuated to relief camps amid heavy rains due to the influence of severe cyclonic storm Vardah.
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.
With the cyclonic storm Vardah set to make landfall between Sriharikota and Chennai, a state of high alert is being maintained in SPS Nellore district.
“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.