Cyclone Vardah impedes usual life in southern India

At least 12 killed in Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh


News - India & You

December 13, 2016

/ By / Kolkata

LATEST: Vardah Cyclone: Worst is over for Chennai. Few spells possible tonight.

LATEST: Vardah Cyclone: Worst is over for Chennai. Few spells possible tonight.

Cyclone Vardah crippled normal life, as South India experienced the most intense storm of the last two decades.

Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Puducherry were on red alert as the severe cyclonic storm rampaged the south-eastern coast of India. At least twelve people were killed in Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh. With a wind speed of up to 140 kilometres per hour, Vardha wrecked havoc, especially in Chennai; uprooting trees, flattening homes, overturning vehicles and leaving the city without power for several hours. According to the Regional Meteorological Centre in Chennai the most heavily struck areas were the northern coastal districts of Tamil Nadu, Thiruvallore and Kancheepuram. The districts of Nellore and Prakasam in Andhra Pradesh also witnessed the rampage of Vardah, receiving heavy downpour.

On Monday, the Union Home Minister, Rajnath Singh declared that the central government would extend all help to the cyclone-hit areas. In a statement by the Tamil Nadu government, it was announced that Singh had a telephonic discussion with the Chief Minister, O Panneerselvam and enquired about the situation in the aftermath of cyclone Vardah crossing Kancheepuram and Thiruvallore. The badly hit areas in Tamil Nadu are now under relief work with the assistance of armed forces, coast guards and teams of volunteers.

Vardah bigger than Huddud

Comparable to the likes of the cyclone Huddud that struck the coast of Andhra Pradesh in 2014, Vardah is categorised as Category 1 cyclone by meteorologists. Huddud had claimed 61 lives and destroyed property worth INR 219.08 billion in 2014.

The Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale, which gauges the severity of cyclones based on their wind speed, classifies Vardah as Category 1 cyclone. They are characterised by wind speeds in the range of 110 kilometres per hour, according to the US-based National Hurricane Centre.

Vardah, on its way to India’s south-eastern coast, came over the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, bringing torrential downpour and wadding winds between 110 and 120 kilometres per hour.

Travellers stranded

Travellers to and from Chennai remained stranded as rail and flight services were affected by the heavy rain and strong wind. More than 25 flights, including the ones from international destinations, were diverted to Hyderabad and Bengaluru due to poor visibility. As many as 25 flights were delayed in Chennai airport itself.

The railway faced the wrath of Vardah as well. The Southern Railway had to suspend services on the Chennai Beach and Velacherry MRTS routes. The suburban rail service on the MMC-Gummidipoondi line was also suspended and is likely to remain closed today.

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