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A severe cyclone in the Bay of Bengal is likely to cause heavy rain and strong winds across southeast India, with authorities warning of flash floods, damage to crops and power failures in some affected areas.
Cyclone Michaung may bring winds as strong as 100 kilometers (62 miles) per hour, gusting to 110 kph, as it nears the coastal areas of Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu, according to the India Meteorological Department. Parts of the states along with Odisha are expected to receive heavy to very heavy rain until Tuesday, it said.
Cyclones are not uncommon in South Asia, but scientists say that climate change has resulted in more frequent storms, heat waves, floods and droughts. Extreme weather events have been causing billions of dollars of losses in the region because of damage to crops, infrastructure and human lives.
The US Consulate General in Chennai canceled all consular appointments on Monday due to the cyclone, according to a notice posted by the US Embassy & Consulates in India on its website. Chennai airport shut its airfield for both arrivals and departures until 11 p.m. on Monday due to severe weather conditions, it said on X, formerly Twitter.
Fishermen have been asked to suspend their operations in the region as waves could surge 1-to-1.5 meters above astronomical tides at the time of the cyclone’s landfall, the weather bureau said. Heavy rainfall in low-lying areas of some coastal districts may cause flash floods, damage paddy crops and orchards, and affect power and communication lines, it said.
The weather department has advised residents to evacuate some areas, that shipping and road transport operations be regulated, and that people stay indoors when the storm hits the region.
Several areas in Chennai, the capital of Tamil Nadu, reported massive waterlogging, and power disruptions as heavy rains lashed the city on Monday morning, according to the Times of India newspaper. Suburban trains have been temporarily suspended in the city, it said, adding that all schools and colleges were also shut on Monday.
(Updates to add details in fourth paragraph)
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