India World

Cyclone Nivar makes landfall in southern India, wreaks havoc

Cyclone Nivar has made landfall in southern India, triggering torrential downpours in coastal areas of Tamil Nadu.

Officials said it reached winds of more than 120 kilometers per hour but then weakened into a severe cyclonic storm.

Tens of thousands of people from low lying areas had been evacuated ahead of landfall.

Heavy wind had already felled trees and strong rains flooded parts of Tamil Nadu and the capital Chennai much before the cyclone made landfall.

Initially classified as a “very severe cyclonic storm”, Nivar weakened into a “severe cyclonic storm” after it made landfall, the India Meteorological Department said.

It is forecast to further weaken as it moves north, the department added.

Dozens of trains and flights from Chennai have been cancelled and thousands of disaster management personnel have been deployed in the region. All fishing boats had been advised to return to port.

Tamil Nadu minister R.B. Udhayakumar said late Wednesday that around 175,000 people were moved to shelters.

Wednesday and Thursday were declared public holidays with everything shut except emergency services.

In 2015, widespread flooding in Chennai due to heavy rains and overflowing rivers brought the city to a standstill.