At least two dead as southern India braces for Cyclone Michaung

The ‘severe’ cyclone is expected to make landfall on the coast of Andhra Pradesh on Tuesday, India’s weather office says.

A pedestrian wades through a flooded street after heavy rains in Chennai, India as Cyclone Michuang's landfall nears [R Satish Babu/AFP]

At least two people have been killed due to severe weather as two states in southern India brace for Cyclone Michaung.

The “severe cyclonic storm” is expected to make landfall on the coast of Andhra Pradesh on Tuesday morning, with sustained winds of 90-100km/h (56-62mph), gusting to 110km/h (68mph), India’s meteorological department said on Monday.

Government authorities in Andhra Pradesh and neighbouring Tamil Nadu have begun evacuating thousands of people living in coastal areas and issued warnings to fishermen not to venture out to sea.

Two people were killed when a wall collapsed because of heavy rain in the Chengalpattu district of Tamil Nadu state, the joint director of the state disaster management department, C Muthukumaran, told the Reuters news agency.

Images on social media showed several areas of Chennai, the capital of Tamil Nadu, submerged in knee-deep water and cars being swept away due to floods in the region.

The Tamil Nadu government has announced the closure of educational institutions and government offices in Chennai and other districts on Tuesday.

The Chennai airport, one of the busiest in the country, has also shut down due to the severe weather. Several trains passing through Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh have been cancelled or delayed.

Parts of Andhra Pradesh were likely to get more than 200mm (8 inches) of rain over the next 24 hours, India’s weather office said.

Authorities in the state had evacuated nearly 7,000 people in eight coastal districts and were preparing to evacuate a total of 28,000, depending on the cyclone’s path and severity, a senior official in the state’s disaster management department told Reuters.

At least 800 people have been evacuated so far from Bapatla, the coastal town in Andhra Pradesh where the cyclone is expected to make landfall, said P Ranjit Basha, district collector of Bapatla.

Source: News Agencies