Chennai: Heavy rains on Monday pounded the city and north coastal districts of Tiruvallur and Kancheepuram in Tamil Nadu, inundating low lying areas, while high velocity winds uprooted hundreds of trees as the severe cyclonic storm Vardah reached about 60 kms northeast of Chennai and was likely to make landfall in the next couple of hours.
According to the IMD bulletin at noon, by the time Vardah hits the coast, winds with speed of 100-110 kmph to 120 kmph are like to sweep the region.
Squally winds hit Chennai this morning as the very severe cyclonic storm approached Tamil Nadu. Power supply was suspended in many parts of these regions as a precautionary measure.
The rains intensified as the cyclone neared leading to waterlogging in many areas.
The Tamil Nadu government had declared holiday for educational institutions in Chennai, Kancheepuram and Tiruvallur, besides coastal taluks of Villupuram.
Rail and flight services in Chennai have been affected, officials said.
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.
Nearly 25 outbound flights were delayed, officials said, adding that there was no inundation of the runway.
An emergency management team was on standby to meet any eventuality, they said.
The Southern Railways, 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.
The system was likely to move nearly westwards and weaken gradually while moving towards north Tamil Nadu and adjoining south Andhra Pradesh coasts.
However, according to the Cyclone Warning Division of the India Meteorological Department, (IMD), Vardah, which is currently, a very severe cyclonic storm, will weaken, but only to a severe cyclonic storm.
Over 15 teams of NDRF have been deployed in various coastal regions of Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh which are on high alert due to the approaching cyclonic storm.
The armed forces have been asked to be on standby with the army, navy and air force prepared to be deployed anytime as and when required.
People in low-lying areas have been asked to move to safer zones.
Puducherry also experienced intermittent drizzle from early morning. The state government took precautionary steps to prevent tourists and other people from going close to the sea shore.
Police personnel were deployed on the entire two-and-a-half kilometre stretch of beach road and barricades were also put on all roads close to the sea shore. All schools and colleges are closed on Monday.
First Published On : Dec 12, 2016 13:24 IST