At least three people have been killed after a powerful cyclonic storm hurtled into India's southeastern coast on Thursday, uprooting trees and packing strong winds and rains as tens of thousands of people took refuge in shelters.
The centre of Nivar made landfall at 3:05 am local time near Puducherry with winds of up to 130 kilometres (81 miles) per hour.
Thousands of state and national emergency personnel were deployed in the southern regions of Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Puducherry as authorities suspended power supply across several cities to prevent damage to the electricity grid.
"It was a very serious cyclone. Due to measures taken by the state government, things are very much in control. As of now, only 3 deaths have been reported while 3 people were injured. 101 huts damaged, and 380 fallen trees removed. There is a complete restoration of essential services. There is no problem of drinking water, electricity, or any healthcare," Atulya Mishra, Additional Chief Secretary of the state said.
Waterlogging in parts of Chennai city was seen following overnight rainfall due to the cyclone. India Meteorological Department (IMD) said "severe" cyclonic storm Nivar weakened into a cyclonic storm over north coastal Tamil Nadu.
"It would continue to move northwestwards and weaken further into a deep depression during the next 6 hours and into a depression by subsequent 6 hours," IMD said. According to the IMD, Chennai will have moderate rainfall till tomorrow. Fishermen have been advised not to go to sea in South-coastal Andhra Pradesh and North-coastal Tamil Nadu.
The storm crossed the coasts of Tamil Nadu and Puducherry from 11:30 pm on Wednesday to 2:30 am on Thursday and moved west-northwestwards at a speed of 9 kmph. Meanwhile, Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Thursday held a meeting with Chief Ministers of Tamil Nadu and Puducherry Edappadi Karuppa Palaniswami and V Narayanaswamy respectively and assured all possible help from the Centre in the wake of the cyclone.