Vishakapatnam/Bhubaneswar: Cyclone Hudhud pounded the coastal districts of Andhra Pradesh and Odisha with heavy rain and winds of almost 200 kmph Sunday killing four people and left a trail of destruction with Vishakapatnam where the very severe storm made landfall the worst hit.
Nearly three-and-a-half lakh people--about 250,000 in AP and nearly one lakh in Odisha--were evacuated and tens of thousands of people were still being taken to safe places and housed in special shelters, officials said.
High velocity winds battered Visakhapatnam, which is home to a Naval base, Srikakulam and Vizianagaram districts throwing normal life out of gear after the cyclone made landfall shortly before noon downing power and communications lines and closing roads and railways.
Trees were uprooted and roofs of thatched huts and sheds and hoardings blown away.
Transport services came to to a halt in the region.Dozens of trains were either cancelled or diverted and flights in the region were also disrupted.
Streets largely wore a deserted look as panic-stricken residents remained indoors.
According to Andhra Pradesh's Revenue (Disaster Management) Department, the cyclone left railway lines inVisakhapatnam badly damaged, besides causing "damage" to the airport there.
A total of 2,48,004 people were "affected" by Hudhud, which also damaged 70 houses and left 34 animals dead, it said.
Three people were killed in rain-related incidents in AP while one person lost his life in Odisha.
"The impact is tremendous," Union Minister Ashok Gajapati Raju said."Three deaths have been reported due to impact of Hudhud.
Two died after trees fell on them and one in collapse of compound-wall in Visakhapatnam and Srikakulam districts, respectively," AP Chief Secretary I V R Krishna Rao said.
A fisherman was caught in the sea current amid a tidal surge while he was trying to save his fishing boat anchored in the coast of Puri, Special Relief Commissioner P K Mohapatra said.
Yesterday, a nine-year-old girl drowned when a boat engaged in evacuation of the people in Satbhaya area of Kendrapara district capsized in the Baunsagadi rivulet.
In Delhi, IMD Director Laxman Singh Rathore said that as the cyclone was crossing AP coastline the wind speed was 170-180 kmph and gusting up to 195 kmph.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke to Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu and discussed relief and rescue measures and promised all possible assistance.
Cyclone Hudhud lost its intensity by evening as it moved further 60 km northwest of Visakhapatnam, the IMD said.
Hudhud, which was so far a very severe cyclonic storm has now converted into a severe cyclone and its speed is now limited to 100-110 kmph, said M Mahapatra, Scientist at the Cyclone Warning Division of IMD.