A severe cyclone tears down power lines, trees in India; no casualties

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A severe cyclone slammed into India’s southern coast early on Thursday, uprooting trees and power lines but there were no immediate reports of loss of life or extensive damage to property.

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Cyclone Nivar made landfall near the city of Puducherry in the southern state of Tamil Nadu with winds of up to 130 kilometer per hour (81 miles per hour), according to the India Meteorological Department.

Heavy rains triggered by the storm caused flooding in some streets of the city of Chennai, Tamil Nadu’s largest city which is home to many large automobile manufacturers, according to a Reuters witness.

Television networks showed fallen trees in Chennai and people walking in knee-deep water in some streets. No casualties were immediately reported, local media said.

“This year, because of the precautions taken, the situation has not been that bad. Except for a few fallen trees and flooding in some streets, we have largely been safe,” said S. Sakthivel, a shopkeeper in the city.

Chennai’s city corporation said on Twitter it was working to clear the roads.

Tens of thousands of people were evacuated from low-lying areas of Tamil Nadu ahead of the storm’s landfall, R.B. Udhayakumar, Tamil Nadu’s disaster management minister, said on Wednesday.

The Meteorological Department said Nivar’s intensity had dropped to 85 to 95 kph (53 to 59 mph) and is expected to weaken further.

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