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Cyclone Vardah Hits the East Coast In China

On Monday afternoon, Cyclone Vardah made a landfall in Chennai, between 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. It smashed cars, uprooted trees, disrupted public transport and telecommunication, defaced high-rises, and brought the metropolitan area to a standstill. Vardah is an Urdu word meaning red rose.

The cyclonic storm arrived as predicted, when the weather system that first noticed a cyclonic storm about five days ago, which grew into a ‘very severe cyclonic storm’. When it reached the Chennai Port and crossed into the city, it had diluted into a ‘severe cyclonic storm’ with maximum wind speeds touching 110 kmph-120 kmph. According to the Meteorological department, the total rainfall received on Monday till 6 pm in evening was 16 cm in the Chennai region alone.  The velocity of winds considerably decreased to 60-70 kmph by 8 p.m. After that, it moved westwards and brought moderate to heavy rainfall to the interior areas. There was a widespread devastation to trees and property. As the storm engulfed the city, power supply was disrupted; banking transactions and PoS devices were affected.

The total rainfall received by the city has only partially compensated for the city’s rain deficit. Before cyclone Vardah struck the coast, the annual rainfall deficit of the city was over 60 cm. Post the storm, the gap has been narrowed but there is still about a rock solid 40 cm of rainfall that Chennai would need for its water reservoirs and storage structures to fill up and meet its water requirements until the monsoon next year.
 Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu O. Panneerselvam has announced a relief fund of Rs. 4 lakh each to the families of the victims.

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