Cyclone his southern India, killing 2, forcing evacuations

AP News
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Posted: Dec 12, 2016 6:27 AM

NEW DELHI (AP) — A cyclone slammed into India's southeastern coast on Monday, killing at least two people and causing authorities to evacuate thousands of people from low-lying areas.

Schools and offices were closed and state authorities were on alert in Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh states as Cyclone Vardah hit the coast.

Police and disaster management teams evacuated more than 15,000 people from low-lying areas, moving them to safer places as heavy rains and strong winds lashed the region. In many places, trees and electrical poles were uprooted by the rain and wind.

Police in Chennai said two people were killed in the storm in the city, but it was not immediately clear how they died.

K. G. Ramesh, director-general of the meteorological department, said the cyclone had made landfall with heavy rain and winds of up to 120 kilometers (75 miles) an hour. "It was a severe cyclone," Ramesh said.

Police in Chennai said the storm blew out window panes from high-rise buildings. There were power outages in many parts of the city.

Fishermen in the two coastal states were warned not to head out, with the seas expected to be rough for the next two days.

At Chennai's airport, flight operations were suspended temporarily as the runway was inundated, officials said.

Indian navy ships and air force planes were ready to handle any emergencies, said disaster management officials.