Severe Cyclone Michaung Causes Devastation on India’s Southern Coast

Severe cyclonic storm, Cyclone Michaung, has unleashed heavy rains and strong winds on India’s southern coast, resulting in widespread damage and loss of life. The states of Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh have been particularly affected, with reports of several deaths and thousands of residents being evacuated from low-lying areas. The city of Chennai has been severely flooded, with cars swept away and trees uprooted. Chennai airport, one of the busiest in India, has also shut down its operations. The intensity of the cyclone is expected to peak on Tuesday morning between Nellore and Machilipatnam in Andhra Pradesh.

Meteorological officials have issued a red alert for parts of Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh, urging schools, colleges, and banks to remain closed for the safety of the public. The manufacturing hub of Chennai has witnessed the closure of factories, including iPhone production facilities. The devastating impact of the cyclone is reminiscent of the severe floods that struck Chennai in 2015, claiming the lives of 400 people. The heavy rainfall has extended to other regions such as north Tamil Nadu, Rayalaseema, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, and Odisha.

India’s meteorological department has cautioned residents to stay indoors in southern Andhra Pradesh and northern Tamil Nadu and Puducherry due to the severity of the cyclone. Serious damage to housing is expected, and fishermen have been warned against venturing into the sea along the coastal areas. The Bay of Bengal is also placed under a wind warning. Some areas are projected to receive over 20 centimeters of rain in the next 24 hours, contributing to further flooding. The evacuation of around 7,000 individuals from coastal districts has already taken place, and an additional 21,000 may need to be evacuated depending on the intensity and trajectory of the cyclone.

Apart from the impact on coastal regions, a warning has been issued for dense fog in Punjab, Haryana, Chandigarh, West Uttar Pradesh, and East Rajasthan. The situation is expected to improve by Wednesday morning, as the worst of the weather passes. However, the destruction caused by Cyclone Michaung serves as a stark reminder of the vulnerability of India’s southern coast to extreme weather events, raising concerns about the region’s preparedness and infrastructure to withstand future urban floods. The devastating consequences of this cyclone also highlight the need for robust disaster management strategies and climate resilience measures to protect lives and property in vulnerable coastal areas.