Cyclone Michaung: Landfall today in Andhra; rain-battered Chennai hopes for relief

The storm will cross Nellore and Machilipatnam with a wind speed of 90-100 kmph

PTI12_04_2023_000415A A local wades through a waterlogged road after heavy rain owing to Cyclone Michaung in Tirupati, Andhra Pradesh | PTI

A high alert is in place in Andhra Pradesh as Severe Cyclonic Storm Michaung is expected to make landfall on Tuesday at Bapatla coast. The IMD's latest report said the storm will cross the south Andhra Pradesh coast between Nellore and Machilipatnam with a maximum sustained wind speed of 90-100 kmph gusting to 110 kmph.

As the storm is expected to bring with it a heavy downpour, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy has issued an alert for eight districts -- Tirupati, Nellore, Prakasam, Bapatla, Krishna, West Godavari, Konaseema and Kakinada.

"Special officers have been appointed for all cyclone-affected districts, besides releasing Rs 2 crore each for rescue and relief works. The special officers will work in close coordination with the collectors and, if more funds are needed, the government will comply with the request," Reddy said in a release.

He also directed the officials to use their experience of handling Cyclone Hudhud and prepare for the landfall. Besides taking advance relief measures, he also urged the services of ward and village secretariats, including tapping the services of village clinics, Rythu Bharosa Kendras and others.

The officials have been directed to focus on safeguarding crops, especially by procuring paddy and saving the kharif harvest. The government has also ordered the evacuation of people in the above-mentioned areas. As many as 181 relief camps have been opened and over 100 are ready to take in people.

By Monday evening, Kakinada had logged rainfall of 25 mm, Machilipatnam (28 mm), Nellore (76 mm), Ongole (34 mm), Tirupati (64 mm), Kavali (66 mm), Narasapuram (39 mm) and Tuni (20 mm), among others. "The weather system is expected to persist till Thursday and thereafter become a deep depression and subside," the statement said. 

The IMD has predicted heavy to very heavy rainfall, accompanied by gales, in parts of Andhra Pradesh till Wednesday. It also forecasts extremely heavy rainfall in isolated places.

Tirupati Airport Director KM Basavaraju told PTI that all flights, 14 scheduled and one non-scheduled, were cancelled on Monday due to the inclement weather. Due to the incessant rain, the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams have temporarily barred devotees from the holy bath at the Sri Kapilathirtham falls.

Cyclone Michaung Commuters on a road waterlogged due to heavy rain owing to Cyclone Michaung in Tirupati | PTI

Chennai suffers

Heavy downpours triggered by Cyclone Michaung plunged Chennai into misery on Monday with roads inundating, and streets flooding, bringing back the horrors of the 2015 flood.

At least five persons lost their lives and several flights and trains were cancelled. Power outages and internet disruptions were reported in several parts of the city.

However, the IMD has predicted a better day for north-coastal Tamil Nadu and Puducherry. Light to moderate rainfall is expected in most places and isolated heavy rainfall on Tuesday morning, decreasing thereafter, according to the latest IMD bulletin. 

Chennai reported no rain since the early hours of Tuesday. Power services have since been restored. However, train services to and from the city remain suspended.

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