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India shuts schools as cyclonic storm looms

Authorities in southern India evacuated coastal regions, stopped flights, and closed schools and workplaces on Monday in anticipation of a strong cyclonic storm that would bring with it heavy rains over the course of the next 24 hours.

With persistent winds of 90–100 kph (56–62 mph), with gusts up to 110 kph, Cyclone Michaung is predicted to make landfall on the coast of the southern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh on Tuesday morning, according to the nation’s weather office.

Authorities in Andhra Pradesh and neighbouring Tamil Nadu were on high alert for damage, evacuating thousands of people living in coastal areas, officials in both states said, with warnings issued for fishermen not to venture out into the sea.

Media showed images of cars floating as water coursed through the streets of Chennai, a city of nearly seven million people and the capital of Tamil Nadu, as rain pelted down. Several areas of the city were submerged in knee-deep water and there have been power outages since Monday morning.

Authorities closed down operations at Chennai airport on Monday, citing “severe weather conditions”.

The industries department in Tamil Nadu, a manufacturing hub and host to major electronics and automobile manufacturers, including Hyundai and Apple supplier Foxconn, said only “essential supply companies” would function for now.

Schools, colleges, offices and banks were closed on Monday and Tuesday in at least four districts of Tamil Nadu because of weather conditions, a government notice said.

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

In Andhra Pradesh, authorities 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 said.

In Tamil Nadu, authorities declared a public holiday in four coastal districts and asked people not to venture out unless necessary.

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Sydney Okafor

I am so passionate about this my profession as a broadcast journalist and voiceover artists and presently a reporter at TV360 Nigeria

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