Tropical cyclone Vardah, the first hurricane-strength storm to hit the Bay of Bengal this season, has struck the coastal Indian city of Chennai.
The storm uprooted trees, overturned cars and did extensive damage to buildings as it tore across the city. At least 10 people have died, according to the National Disaster Management Authority.
The winds at landfall on Monday were around 140 kilometers per hour (87 miles per hour), making Vardah equal to a Category 1 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson scale.
It has now moved inland, bringing gusty winds and torrential rainfall to the interior portions of Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka states.
Prior to the storm’s landing, Chennai already was pounded with heavy rain and winds.
The Indian Meteorological Department has issued heavy rain warnings for the whole of southern India. Fisherman have been told not to take their boats out for two more days.
City on lockdown
Chennai, a city on the Bay of Bengal in eastern India, is the country’s second largest financial hub after Mumbai.
Vardah could take a heavy toll on the country’s agricultural sector, destroying banana plantations, papaya groves and rice paddies.
More than 170 relief camps have been set up in Chennai and several National Disaster and Reponse Force (NDRF) teams have been deployed to Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh, according Krishna Kumar, a spokesman from the NDRF.
Tropical cyclone Vardah is India’s strongest storm since October 2014, when cyclone Hudhud moved into Andhra Pradesh, claiming over 100 lives and causing $3.4 billion in damage.
Vardah could also hit fishing villages located along the coast of Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu.
CNN meteorologists Tom Sater, Haley Brink, Michael Guy contributed to this report from Atlanta. CNN’s Omar Khan contributed to this report from India.