India’s southern and eastern coastlines faced relentless downpours and fierce winds on Monday. States were placed on high alert as a deep depression over the Bay of Bengal escalated into a formidable storm, according to authorities.
Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh states in the south and Odisha in the east braced for flooding as authorities issued warnings for tropical storm Michuang, which is likely to hit the southern coast on Tuesday with maximum sustained winds of 90-100 kilometers (56-62 miles) per hour with gusts up to 110 kph (68 mph), the Indian Meteorological Department said.
IMD chief Mrutyunjay Mohapatra said that based on its current trajectory, the storm could make landfall on Tuesday afternoon close to Bapatla in Andhra Pradesh state.
The Andhra Pradesh state government shut schools on Monday while authorities in Tamil Nadu declared a public holiday in four districts that are likely to bear the brunt of the downpours. In the eastern state of Odisha, a number of districts experienced heavy rain, which authorities said could intensify on Tuesday.
The Hindu newspaper reported that officials evacuated nearly 2,000 people from coastal and low-lying villages in Andhra Pradesh state, with instructions to move over 7,000 more to safer areas.
In Tamil Nadu’s capital, Chennai, strong rains submerged roads and cars and flooded parts of the city. There were wide disruptions to trains and flights, with videos showing water streaming onto the airport tarmac. Members of India’s National Disaster Response Force were evacuating those in low-lying areas of the city, local media reported.
The state government said over the weekend that it had deployed its own disaster response force and set up nearly 5,000 relief camps in coastal areas.
Tamil Nadu’s chief minister, M.K. Stalin, said the state was ready to face the storm with authorities deployed to vulnerable areas, and asked the public to stay indoors until it subsided.