Cyclone Michaung: Heavy rains in southern India as storm makes landfall

A man takes shelter under an umbrella in Chennai
Image caption,Rains have battered two southern states ahead of Cyclone Michaung’s landfall

By Nikhila Henry in Delhi and Barbara Tasch in London

BBC News

Heavy rains and strong winds are battering India’s southern Andhra Pradesh state as a severe cyclonic storm makes landfall.

Nine people, including a child, have died in Andhra Pradesh and neighbouring Tamil Nadu state in rain-related incidents.

Authorities have evacuated thousands of people from low-lying areas in both states.

Many residential areas are flooded, and videos show cars floating in water.

Cyclone Michaung has made landfall between Nellore and Kavali in Andhra Pradesh, the state chief minister’s office said. The India Meteorological Department (IMD) had said that the storm will have wind speeds up to 110km/h (68mph), which will reduce as the cyclone dissipates after landfall.

Around 9,500 people in Andhra Pradesh have been evacuated to 211 relief camps.

“Extremely heavy rainfall will continue in Andhra Pradesh. The storm will weaken into a depression by Wednesday morning [local time],” Mrutyunjay Mohapatra, director general of IMD, told reporters.

A four-year-old child died in Tirupati district in Andhra Pradesh state after a wall collapsed, local media reports quoted a government official as saying. Eight deaths were reported in Tamil Nadu state, where the storm caused havoc on Tuesday – causes included falling structures and electrocution.

Meteorological officials have issued a red alert in some parts of the states of Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh. Schools, colleges and many offices are closed in several districts.

Several flights and trains have been cancelled in Andhra Pradesh and crop damage has been reported.

Rain and wind warnings are in place in both states as well as Telangana and Odisha, which lie along the Bay of Bengal coast. Officials have asked fishermen along the coast not to go out in the rough seas and warned of serious damage to houses.

Almost 7,000 people were evacuated from coastal districts in Tamil Nadu on Monday as heavy rains and winds hit the state.

Chennai airport, one of the busiest in India, was closed on Monday as its runway was flooded. It resumed operations on Tuesday morning as the cyclone moved northwards and the intensity of the rains reduced.

In and around Chennai – a major electronics and manufacturing hub – factories were closed, including iPhone production facilities, Reuters reported on Monday.

Several parts of Chennai reported water-logging even after the rains stopped, making transportation difficult. Some residents told BBC Tamil reporters that they were struggling because of power outages and disruption in water supply after the rains.

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