Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Chennai shuts down for Cyclone Vardah's visit

Chennai is devastated, would probably be an understatement. Well, it might be an exaggeration, but closer to the truth.

Vardah is closing in

Cyclone vardah nearing Chennai
Cyclone Vardah 173kms/94nm from landfall

The morning started normally in Chennai; it had started raining the previous night. And, I was keeping track of its progress through windytv, which showed the progress of the cyclone continuously. And, it looked like Chennai is going to be real close to the eye of the storm.

By the way, Chennai has not directly been attacked by a cyclone, at least not from memory. If you ask the experts, they would tell you like "this reminds us of 1972, when something like Cyclone Vardah happened"!

We decided to attend office and started around 10. Traffic was lean and the warnings on TV helped the cause. It was windy with occasional gusts, though it didn't rain much; only a constant drizzle.

Couldn't enter the road where our office is located because a tree had fallen across the road. Found a place under a fairly young tree who looked like he could withstand the powerful winds. Walked the rest of the way to office (the road was wet and water level rising). By this time, power had been shutdown throughout the city. 
Our inverter was switched on and we checked the status of the progress of the cyclone Vardah on the web.

Vardah crossing Chennai



Chennai was too close to the epicenter from the looks of it and we feared that this again would be another bad first in recent times for Chennai.

And what a big bad it turned out to be!!! In just a matter of few hours, between 11am and 2pm, about hundred trees were down in Adyar, courtesy Vardah, on the streets, inside houses and on the main roads.

The services people were quick to attend, but probably short staffed. The trees on the main roads were being  attended to on priority late in the evening.

We decided to go back home, when there was a lull in the storm at about 3pm. By this time, our road was inundated and yet another tree had fallen to Vardah. We waded through knee deep water till the the nearest junction, where the vehicle was parked covered fully in twigs and leaves, truly a green automobile.

The relief of finding the vehicle unharmed transformed into disappointment, when we realised that we were trapped when Vardah sir told us "Hey! I am the boss for today! Why don't you leave the vehicle here tonight at my mercy and walk home".

So, we found a safe place without any trees around, parked the vehicle. Luckily, a friend who stays nearby, lent their Honda Activa and we reached home by about 7pm.
Winds were getting stronger by then, even though it didn't rain (it was drizzling continuously though).


Cyclone Vardah - the aftermath


Today's morning reports tell us more trees have fallen. There is still water on the roads in many areas.

Fallen trees on the main roads have been mostly cleared or in the process. Power has not been restored yet except in some places.

A drive around the town has revealed that four wheelers are better avoided if you need to use the side roads, most of them resembling forest bushes with fallen trees everywhere. Right now, two wheelers are the best for transportation.

There is one thing that all the people of Chennai agree, which is that there has never been as devastating a cyclonic storm in Chennai before Vardah.

A few pictures of Cyclone Vardah that we clicked and others

Vardah, the beginning
Cyclone Vardah in destructive mode



























Vardah the wild

Cyclone Vardah in fury

Cyclone Vardah in action

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