The Indian authorities evacuated over a million people as a powerful cyclone made landfall on the eastern coast of the country. Christened Fani (pronounced Foni), the tropical storm blew across the city of Puri on the eastern seaboard in the state of Odisha, making landfall between 8 a.m. and 10 a.m. local time Friday.

The storm has now been downgraded to a very severe cyclonic storm with wind speeds of 140-150 kmph, from an extremely severe cyclonic storm which had packed winds up to 205 kmph.  Fani is expected to weaken further in the next few hours.

Three people were killed, reported NDTV quoting Indian authorities. Large areas of Puri were under water from the heavy rain. Officials said several houses were destroyed and trees uprooted.  The roof of a building on the campus of the premier All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in the capital Bhubaneshwar was ripped off by the heavy winds. 

“In Bhubaneswar, we are all indoors,” said Jagdish Chandra Rout, head of communications for Gopalpur Port Limited. “Nobody is visible on the road, nothing is moving on the road.” reported The New York Times.

The storm also caused heavy rains in parts of the neighboring state of Andhra Pradesh.

Fani is the strongest storm to hit the Indian subcontinent in two decades, and had threatened large swathes of the eastern coast of India and Bangladesh. It is the tenth such cyclone to hit India in the last 52 years, according to India Today. 

The Indian Meteorological department said Fani was different from the other tropical cyclones that blow into India from the east. The storm had started developing around April 25 around the equator and moved northwards, gathering strength as it winded its way up to the Indian coast over the last few days.

The government had swung into action early, issuing storm warnings and starting evacuations earlier this week. Schools were shut, fishermen were asked to stay away from water, and tourists were advised to leave Puri.  Almost 14 districts in Odisha lay in the path of the cyclone. Train services around the state have been cancelled and nearly a million people have been evacuated and shifted to storm shelters.

Telecommunication lines are jammed in several parts of the state and mobile towers and power supply are also disconnected.

Fani is now headed toward the state of West bengal and is expected to alter the weather conditions in Nepal and bring heavy rainfall and snowfall  in the Himalayas, meteorologists warned Friday.