6:07 pm: Services at Chennai airport suspended till 9 pm
The Chennai airport will remain closed till 9pm. The airport officials are expected to conduct a damage assessment exercise.
Officials of the National Disaster Management Authority reported two deaths, as well as damage to 24 huts because of the cyclone. At least 8,008 people have been accommodated in 95 relief camps.
4:42 pm: Army Conducts Rescue Operations
Even as the Indian Army conducted rescue operations, several vehicles were reported to be damaged because of trees being uprooted.
3:34 pm: Cyclone Vardah Was Named By Pakistan
The name of severe cyclonic storm 'Vardah has been given by Pakistan. The name means 'red rose' reports PTI.
3:30 pm: Rainfall Expected For The Next 8 to 12 Hours
ANI reports that while cyclone Vardah made landfall about 30 minutes ago, heavy rainfall can be expected in Chennai for the next 8 to 12 hours.
NDTV reports that the eye of the cyclone was 15kms in diameter.
Railway networks have been badly affected because of the winds and rain:
Chennai Suburban railway network suspended till further notice.Some trains reaching & leaving Chennai diverted & cancelled:ADG(PR) Railways pic.twitter.com/WJxiHkreb7— ANI (@ANI_news) December 12, 2016
3:05pm: Operations at Chennai airport suspended till 6pm, railway network affected
All operations at the Chennai airport were suspended till 6pm on Monday. The city's suburban railway network was also suspended indefinitely. Several trains leaving or arriving in Chennai have been diverted or cancelled, a railways spokesperson told ANI.
"The Chennai division of southern railways has been badly affected," said railways spokesperson Anil Saxena.
2:52 pm: Two killed in cyclone
Two people have lost their lives due to the cyclone, according to the Tamil Nadu government, reported The Hindu.
The wind intensity is expected to remain between 110-120 kmph until 5.30pm, according to the meteorological department, reported The News Minute.
2:18 pm: Cyclone Vardah Makes Landfall North Of Chennai
In the latest the MeT Department says that Cyclone Vardah has made landfall north of Chennai. Meanwhile in Andhra Pradesh more than 9,400 people have been evacuated, reports NDTV.
ANI reports that strong winds and uprooted trees have caused traffic jam in parts of the city.
In Andhra Pradesh an oil tanker toppled because of the gusty winds:
2:03 pm: Cyclone Vardah Makes Landfall, Eye Of The Storm Yet To Hit Chennai
The first sign of the landfall happened with rains stopping for a bit and gusty winds uprooting trees.
The eye of the storm is likely to hit Chennai in sometime now, Indian Navy tells HuffPost India.
Union Minister for Science and Tech and Earth Sciences Harsh Vardhan has said:
Government of India, State government and related agencies are on alert: Union Minister Harsh Vardhan on #cyclonevardah— ANI (@ANI_news) December 12, 2016
1:44 pm: Wind Speed Between 130 To 150 Kms/Hour
Even as the cyclone Vardah gets closer to the Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh coast, the Indian Navy says that the wind speed is somewhere between 130 kms/hour and 150 kms/hour.
Meanwhile all operations in the Chennai Airport has been suspended till 3 pm.
1:39 pm: How The Navy Prepared For Cyclone Vardah
1:34 pm: High Waves Inundate Low Lying Areas
NDTV reports that high waves have inundated low lying areas. One column of the Indian Army has already been requisitioned and moving to deploy at Trinivalur, 50 km North of Chennai.
1:28 Indian Navy prepares for landfall
1:21 pm: Chandrababu Naidu Monitoring Situation In Andhra Pradesh
ANI reports that Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu has said that he is monitoring the situation in the state. NDRF, meanwhile, has deployed 19 teams in Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh.
Food and other essential commodities have been kept ready in adequate quantities: Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu #Vardah— ANI (@ANI_news) December 12, 2016
Fishermen are advised not to venture into sea along and off south Andhra Pradesh during next 36 hours: CM #CycloneVardah— ANI (@ANI_news) December 12, 2016
1:15 pm: Cyclone Vardah Nears Coast
NDTV reports that cylcone Vardah is nearing the Tamil Nadu coast and is somewhere between Sriharikota and Chennai. Navy, Indian Airforce and Army teams are on stand by. The speed of the wind is over 100 kms/per hour. Trees are also reportedly uprooted across Chennai city.
Meanwhile people have been asked not to step put between 1 pm and 4 pm:
Request people not to venture out of their houses between 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. #CycloneVardah: Tamil Nadu Government— ANI (@ANI_news) December 12, 2016
1:12 pm: Cyclone Vardah Gets Closer To Chennai
1:06 pm: Gusty Winds Wreak Havoc In Chennai
Gusty winds from the cyclone has wreaked havoc in Chennai with streets flooding and trees falling, blocking roads.
Here's what Chennai residents have been tweeting:
12:58 pm: Landfall Likely At 1:30 pm, 50 Flights Delayed Or Diverted
NDTV reports that the cyclone Vardah landfall is likely to happen at 1:30 pm. As of now 50 flights have been delayed or diverted.
With seas being rough, the MeT Department has asked fishermen not to go out into the sea for the next 48 hours.
12:27 pm: Photos And Videos By Chennai Residents Show How Intense Cyclone Vardah Really Is
12:19: Cyclonic Winds As Seen By A Twitter User
Cyclone Vardah is on the verge of making landfall in the Chennai coast. Here's how intense it looks, this is as seen by a Twitter user:
Getting windier now. That tall coconut tree in the background is facing the full brunt of it right now pic.twitter.com/ezEay4A8kI— Krish Ashok (@krishashok) December 12, 2016
12:16 pm: Tidal Waves To Be One Meter High
ANI reports that tidal waves will be one meter high and people have been advised to be in safe places and stick to instructions given by government.
12:12 pm: Outer Periphery Of Cyclone Vardah Touches Chennai Coast
NDTV reports the MeT Department as saying that the outer periphery of cyclone Vardah has touched the Chennai coast with speeds of upto 100 kms/hour. Heavy rain fall is also likely for the next two hours.
12:06 pm: Winds Pick Up Speed Of Upto 150 Kms/ Hour
Laters reports on cyclone Vardah suggests winds have picked up speeds in excess of 150km/hour. Massive uprooting of trees reported.
Two ships of the Indian Navy - Shivalik and Kadmatt - already North of Area to render immediate assistance if requiredd.
12:04 pm: Eastern Naval Command Keeps Emergency Measures Ready
Eastern Naval Command has kept all operational ships on standby to undertake Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) operations including evacuation, should the situation demand.
These ships are embarked with additional divers, doctors, inflatable rubber boats, integral helicopters and relief material that include food, clothes, medicines, blankets etc, in quantities sufficient to sustain over 5000 personnel.
Additionally, thirty diving teams with Gemini boats - inflatable flat bottom boats - and four platoons with additional relief material are ready to be pressed into action at short notice.
Naval aircraft are also standing by at the Naval Air Stations Rajali and Dega to undertake reconnaissance, rescue, casualty evacuation and air drop of relief material to the stranded.
11:59 am: What The Cyclone Looks Like Minutes Before It Makes Landfall In Chennai
11:55 pm: People in Ennore And Palaverkadu Asked To Evacuate
People in Ennore, a Chennai suburb on the coast where the Ennore Port is also located, and in Palaverkadu have been asked by the Tamil Nadu government to evacuate.
Palaverkadu is also located right on the seaside.
People living in Ennore and Palaverkadu have been asked to evacuate by Tamil Nadu Government. #cyclonevardah— ANI (@ANI_news) December 12, 2016
Meanwhile the ruling AIADMK also tweeted from its official handle warning people to stay safe:
People are requested not to stand near trees & electric poles. Keep doors & windows closed to be safe.#cyclonevardah— AIADMK (@AIADMKOfficial) December 12, 2016
11:45 am: Flights Diverted, Southern Railway Suspends Services of MRTS In Chennai
Rail and flight services in Chennai were affected by the heavy rain and strong winds that lashed the city and other coastal areas of Tamil Nadu due to cyclone Vardah, officials said.
PTI reports that around 25 incoming flights, including those from international destinations, were diverted to the nearby Hyderabad and Bangalore airports due to strong winds and poor visibility, airport officials said.
Nearly 25 outbound flights were delayed, officials said, adding that there was no inundation of the runway despite heavy rains.
An emergency management team was on standby to meet any eventuality, they said.
The Southern Railway meanwhile, announced suspension of services on the Chennai Beach and Velacherry MRTS route.
Similarly suburban rail services on the MMC-Gummidipoondi line were also suspended until further notice. Some passenger trains coming to Chennai and leaving the city were also diverted.
11: 38 am: Emergency Measures In Place, Thousands Evacuated
Fishermen have been advised not to venture into sea along and off south Andhra Pradesh, north Tamil Nadu and Puducherry coasts during next 36 hours as the sea conditions would be rough to very rough and become high to phenomenal from today morning.
The Hindu reported Machilpatnam Revenue Divisional Officer P. Saibaba as saying that 50,000 had been identified to be evacuated based on the weather conditions.
In Andhra Pradesh seven mandals under Gudur and Sullurupet constituencies in Nellore district and 11 mandals in Prakasam district are kept on high alert.
The government has already deployed three teams of NDRF one each to Nellore, Prakasam and Chittoor.
About 500 men from Fire Service department are also getting ready to extend their support in rescue and relief operations besides 120 Police Seva Dal members and swimmers who would extend their services.
The Civil Supplies Department has stocked sufficient food reserves in all FP shops. 150 Cyclone shelters and School buildings were readied for providing shelter to the displaced people from low lying areas.
11:30 am: IMD Increases Landfall Speed From 110Km/Hour to 120 Kms/Hour
11:22 am: Schools, Colleges Shut In Kancheepuram, Tiruvallur; 25 Flights To Chennai Cancelled
NDTV reports that as the cyclone is moving towards the north Tamil Nadu and south Andhra Pradesh coastline, schools in Kancheepuram and Tiravallur have been shut keeping in mind the safety of students.
It also reports that 25 flights to chennai have been cancelled.
11:19 pm: NDRF Tweets Emergency Contacts
11:12 am: Cyclone Vardah Likely To Make Landfall At 1:00 pm, NDRF geared up
Reports suggest that the cyclone is likely to make landfall at 1:00 pm on Monday morning.
As the cyclonic storm Vardah is on its way to make landfall in the coastal region of Chennai today, National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), Director-general R.K. Pachnanda on Monday said that their teams have been prepositioned at all the major location and is closely monitoring the situation to provide immediate, effective and specialised response.
"NDRF is closely monitoring the situation. We have already prepositioned teams in Andhra Pradesh, one is Nellore, two in Sullurpeta, one in Tada, two in Chittoor, and Ongole. We have sufficient standbys at Guntur, apart from a permanent team at Visakhapatnam," Director-general R.K. Pachnanda told ANI.
11:00 am: Puducherry Gears Up for Cyclone
Puducherry has geared up its official machinery to face the threat of cyclone Vardah which is expected to make a landfall today afternoon, as the state government has declared holiday for all schools and colleges in Puducherry and Karaikal regions in anticipation of heavy rains and wind.
Though it did not rain last night, the sky is cloudy and Port authorities have advised fishermen not to venture into sea as it remains rough.
Chief Minister V Narayanasamy in a special communique last night asked people to stay safe and stock essential items as Met office has forecast heavy rains.
Meanwhile, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh are on high alert as the severe cyclonic storm, Vardah over west central and adjoining southwest Bay of Bengal moved further nearly west-southwest-wards and lay centred at about 180 km east-northeast of Chennai and 250 km east-southeast of Nellore according to Cyclone Warning Centre in Visakhapatnam.
10: 45 am: Heavy Rains Lash Chennai, coastal Tamil Nadu as states brace for cyclone Vardah
Heavy rains coupled with squally winds on Monday morning lashed the northern coastal districts of Tamil Nadu, including Chennai, as very severe cyclonic storm 'Vardah' was expected to make landfall this afternoon.
Vardah lay 220 kilometre east-northeast of Chennai and 290 kilometre east-southeast of Nellore, the Meteorological office said.
"The system is very likely to move nearly westwards and weaken gradually while moving towards north Tamil Nadu and adjoining south Andhra Pradesh coasts," the office said.
"It is very likely to cross north Tamil Nadu and south Andhra Pradesh coasts, close to Chennai as a cyclonic storm with a wind speed of 80 to 90 kmph gusting to 100 kmph by 12th December 2016 afternoon," it said.
Heavy rains lashed Chennai, Tiruvallore and Kancheepuram districts since early morning even as squally winds were witnessed in these districts. Power supply was suspended in many parts of these regions as a precautionary measure.
The armed forces have been asked to be on standby with the amy, navy and air force prepared to be deployed anytime as and when required.
People in low-lying areas have been asked to move to safer zones even as various arms of the government were prepared to meet any eventuality.
Flight services were so far operating smoothly, airport officials said.
(With agency inputs)