Cyclone Vardah has struck close to Tamil Nadu capital Chennai. (PTI Photo)
Chennai: The rain petered down in Chennai late on Monday evening, hours after Cyclone Vardah hit the Tamil Nadu coast, making landfall about 15 km away from the capital. The cyclone struck land with a wind speed of 120 and 130 kmph, bringing with it heavy rain that lashed the coast in Tamil Nadu and neighbour Andhra Pradesh all through Monday. Nearly 20,000 people have been evacuated from low areas and ten people have died. Schools and colleges in Chennai, Kanchipuram and Tiruvallur will remain closed on Tuesday.
Here are the 10 latest developments in this big story:
Prime Minister Narendra Modi posted a series of tweets expressing solidarity with the people in cyclone-hit areas. "My prayers are with all those people who are affected due to adverse weather conditions caused by #CycloneVardah. Stay safe," he tweeted.
By nightfall, the roads, often flooded with ankle-deep water, remained deserted, with tree branches, police barricades and banners lying twisted by the side.
All schools and colleges were closed on Monday in Chennai, Kancheepuram and Tiruvallur. Private offices were asked to allow staff to take a day off or work from home.
As the cyclone struck land, so strong were the winds that glass panels blew off the facade of a five-star hotel in Chennai, while in Andhra Pradesh, an oil tanker tipped over on a highway.
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister O Panneerselvam said more than 10,000 people have been evacuated from near the sea. More than 9,400 people were moved to relief camps in Andhra Pradesh.
Home Minister Rajnath Singh phoned the chief ministers of both Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh to assure them of the Centre's help if needed and to make an assessment of the damage.
The Navy, Army and Air Force have been on the ready to assist with evacuation and rescue. The Navy has had two ships ready with doctors, food and water for 5,000 people. The National Disaster Response Force or NDRF has deployed 16 teams.
Cyclone Vardah will reach Karnataka tomorrow and pass over south Goa on Wednesday, December 14.