At least 19 people were killed as a powerful cyclone tore across the eastern coastline of India on Friday.
The storm, named Cyclone Thane, slammed into the coastline of India’s Tamil Nadu state with winds as fast as 78 mph.
As a result of the dangerous storm, ports and schools in the area were forced to shut down and fishermen have been warned to stay indoors and not go out to sea. Roads have been flooding across the region and travel has been compromised in some areas due to downed trees.
Cell phone and internet services have also been disrupted and power outages occurred throughout the evening on Thursday into Friday.
Prior to the onset of the cyclone, coastal residents were told to move to higher ground for safety but officials fear that homes in the area are likely to face severe damage. Many coastal dwellings are mere huts covered with thatched roofs that could sustain substantial damage if hit by the winds.
Officials have expressed concerns that crops growing along the coastline, including rice, groundnut, and maize could also face extensive damage over the cyclone.
The Indian Meteorological Department expects rainfall to occur throughout the region and predicts that “heavy to very heavy falls” will occur in a few places, with a few isolated occurrences of extremely heavy rainfall. However, the storm has been downgraded from a "very severe" to "severe" storm once it hit land. Rains are expected to last through tomorrow.
Although it is anticipated that some damage will be caused by today’s cyclone, the state had been forewarned of the cyclone and emergency shelters have been set up with disaster management teams sent to the region.
India is no stranger to cyclones, as the fierce storms hit the country seasonally from April to December each year.
In 1999, India experienced a “super-cyclone” that killed 10,000 people and pummeled India’s eastern coastline with winds as strong as 186 mph. The devastating cyclone lasted for 30 hours.
To watch a video of the cyclone please view below.