October 11, 2018 2:26 am

Cyclone leaves as many as 500,000 people without power in India

An Indian villager walks through a road during rain and strong winds caused by cyclonic storm named Titli, or Butterfly near Gopalpur on the Bay of Bengal coast, Ganjam district, eastern Orissa state, India, Thursday, Oct.11, 2018.

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A cyclone slammed into India’s eastern seaboard on Thursday, destroying huts, uprooting trees, snapping power lines and telephone poles, leaving hundreds of thousands without power.

Heavy winds were likely to cause a storm surge and officials said they expected low-lying areas in the states of Odisha and Andhra Pradesh to be inundated.

Coverage of cyclones in India on Globalnews.ca:

Tropical cyclone “Titli,” with gusts of up to 165 kph (100 mph), made landfall in the Srikakulam district of Andhra Pradesh in the early hours, the India Meteorological Department said.

There were no immediate reports of deaths, but the storm wreaked havoc on infrastructure, blocking roads and hampering emergency work.

“We fear 6,000-7,000 electricity poles may have been uprooted,” K. Dhananjaya Reddy, district administrative chief of Srikakulam, told Reuters.

“Around 400,000 to 500,000 people are now without electricity.”

TV footage showed tin roofs of several houses being blown away.

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“The storm has caused heavy to very heavy rainfall in some districts of Odisha, damage to houses, street lights and roadblocks due to fallen trees,” said Special Relief Commissioner Bishnupada Sethi. “We are still assessing the damage and roadblocks are being cleared.”

The Bay of Bengal often witnesses cyclones at this time of year, with some causing widespread death and destruction. Odisha was hit last month by a low-intensity storm.

READ MORE: Rare tropical cyclone forms in Arabian Sea, heads toward India

Officials in Odisha evacuated more than 300,000 people, suspended operations at the port of Paradip and canceled many trains and flights on Wednesday.

The Odisha Chief Minister’s office in a tweet on Wednesday said schools and colleges across the state would remain closed for the week.

“Operations at Paradip have been suspended and all ships have been shifted to deep sea,” the Deputy Conservator of Paradip Port, Captain A.K. Mohapatra, told Reuters.

© 2018 Thomson Reuters

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