Update as of 11:00 p.m. EDT: Tropical Cyclone Hudhud has reportedly claimed the lives of at least eight people in the states of Andhra Pradesh and Odisha. The powerful cyclone weakened on Monday to turn into a “deep depression,” NDTV, a local news network reported, citing weather experts.
Tropical Cyclone Hudhud already has killed six people and continues to batter the eastern Indian port city of Visakhapatnam with heavy rains and winds of more than 125 mph Sunday, BBC News reported. Before the very severe cyclonic storm made landfall near the city, more than 150,000 residents of the states of Andhra Pradesh and Odisha were evacuated, relief centers were opened and 42 National Disaster Response Force teams were deployed to the most threatened areas.
Two people were killed by falling trees and a third was killed by a collapsing wall in the Visakhapatnam and Srikakulam districts of Andhra Pradesh, BBC News said. Hudhud claimed its first victim Saturday when a 9-year-old girl was killed in a rescue-boat accident.
The Indian Navy said the cyclone’s strength will increase over the final few hours of Sunday, the Indian Express reported. The India Meteorological Department’s latest update (PDF) said the cyclone is moving northwest and a storm surge warning was issued for low-lying areas in the Visakhapatnam, Vijayanagaram and Srikakulam districts.
Hudhud has led to the closing of Visakhapatnam’s airport and the suspension of port operations and train services in the region, Reuters reported. The cyclone also caused damage to buildings, disruptions in telecommunication systems and the uprooting of trees, the news agency said. It could dump more than 10 inches of rain on certain areas.
Hudhud will continue to move inland, gradually losing power but affecting a band 124 to 186 miles wide before becoming a depression Monday.
Last October, about half a million people were evacuated ahead of Cyclone Phailin. Authorities acted quickly and helped limit the death toll to 15.