Tropical storm hits Chennai with peak speed of 150 kmph: cyclone fells 3,384 trees, 3,400 electricity poles.
Chennai: Chennai look a lot like a ghost town on Monday while the Cyclone Vardah left a massive trail of destruction in neighboring Tiruvallur and Kancheepuram districts too.
Officers in National Disaster Response force stated that the death toll rose to 10 in Tamil Nadu (Four in Chennai, two in Kancheepuram, two in Tiruvallur, one in Villupuram and one in Nagapattinam).
Bringing back terrifying memories of December 2015, Vardha, the most austere storm to have hit the state capital in two decades, struck the Chennai Coast with shattering wind force touching 150 kmph and left its stamp of destruction as it made landfall near Chennai Harbour on Monday evening.
Vardah’s trail of devastation and destruction was visible all over from Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh to Mamallapuram in Tamil Nadu, a distance of 174 km, with several thousand trees pull up in the area.
One died in Kancheepuram and another in Nagapattinam, officers stated fearing that the death toll could increase even as more than 10,000 people living in low-lying areas were relocated to safe areas by authorities.
The only domestic and international airport in the metropolitan area shut operations from 11 am on Monday and the runway was not opened for flight traffic till the time of writing while suburban trains were cancelled due to stormy winds and buses went off roads for most part of the day.
Chennai, Tiruvallur and Kancheepuram districts were immersed in darkness as Tangedco, the power distribution company, disconnected power supply as a safety measure in the wake of the cyclone.
Chief Minister O Pannerselvam stated late on Monday night that renovation of electricity would begin midnight and complete restoration of power supply to all 3 districts would take another 1 to 2 days. He also announced ex-gratia of Rs 4 lakh each to the families of those who died due to the cyclone.
National Highways connecting Chennai with Bangalore, Kolkata, New Delhi and Mumbai hurt severe damage as powerful winds uprooted trees and signboards disturbing traffic on these major highways.
As the Cyclone Vardah made its landfall late on Monday evening, Army hurried its personnel to Pulicat and Puzhal in Tiruvallur district, the most horribly affected by the cyclonic storm, to immediately begin the relief operations.
Staffs of National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) were involved in rescue operations along with the Army and police personnel. Civic workers used hand-held battery-operated woodcutters to remove hundreds of evacuated trees lying on the roads.