Very severe cyclone Vardah that made landfall in Chennai and northern coastal districts of Tamil Nadu put normal life in distress for over eight hours on Monday. The cyclone, the most intense to have hit the Tamil Nadu capital in two decades, uprooted over 3,000 trees in Chennai city alone, claimed four lives in the state, and left hundreds homeless along the coastline of northern Tamil Nadu and southern coastal belt of Andhra Pradesh. The state government has announced a solatium of Rs 4 lakh each to the next of the kin of those killed in Vardah-related incidents.
With hundreds of trees uprooted along the major roads, police and district administration were busy till late on Monday to clear major routes connecting Chennai. Villupuram, south of Chennai, was another pocket that reported massive impact with dozens of houses damaged.
WATCH VIDEO : Cyclone Vardah kills 10, people evacuated to safer places
As Chennai city came in the eye of a massive cyclonic storm, Regional Meteorological Department (MET) department kept sending warnings on the speed of the stormy winds, which started at 30-45 kmph in the morning and went up to 120 kmph as the eye of Vardah finally crossed Chennai between 1.30 pm and 2.30 pm. About 20 cm rainfall was reported.
The cyclone, which was termed as ‘very severe’ by the MET officials, was considered as the largest among those that hit in the last two decades. The wind speed marked by Vardah, up to 120 kmph, was last recorded before 1994.
While the Chennai international airport suspended all the flight operations due to strong crosswinds, Southern Railway also had to cancel at least 17 train services.
The Metropolitan Transport Corporation (MTC), that consists over 4000 buses in Chennai city, and Amma Canteens, that offered free food for all on Monday, were the two services that remained uninterrupted amid all the chaos. Following damage to several stations, urban train services too were stopped by Monday evening.
According to the state revenue administration, a total of 10,432 people have been evacuated to relief camps. A total of 296 relief camps were opened on Monday across the northern coastal districts of Tamil Nadu. Nearly 300 roads were either blocked or damaged, according to an estimate released after 7.30 pm.
Initial estimates from the Tamil Nadu Electricity Board (TNEB) said over 30 transformers had been damaged and 3,400 electric posts had fallen. The TNEB officials said the power supply to many parts in Kancheepuram and Tiruvallur districts will be restored only on Tuesday as several poles and transformers have been damaged in these districts.
WATCH VIDEO : Visuals Of Cyclone Vardah In Tamil Nadu
In Chennai city alone, corporation said they had removed over 696 trees in the first four hours after the cyclone. A total of 3384 trees had reportedly fallen, according to city corporation.
Chennai, which received only 149 mm of rainfall against the normal 790 mm during this northeast monsoon season, recorded fairly good rainfall status on Monday including water bodies in Red Hills registering 93 mm, Sriperumbudur (153mm), Poondi (76mm) and Chembarambakkam (165mm).
Considering the massive damage of private and public properties, the state government has announced holiday for all government, government aided, private schools and colleges in Chennai, Kancheepuram and Tiruvallur districts on Tuesday.
In its forecast for the next 24 hours, the MeT office said rainfall at most places with isolated heavy to very heavy over south coastal Andhra Pradesh, Rayalaseema, North Coastal Tamil Nadu was “very likely”.
— With PTI INPUTS