Monday, December 12, 2016
Cyclone Vardah is expected to make landfall this evening. It has been looming as a menacing presence in the Bay of Bengal since Thursday last, building up its fury and even practicing its menace over Thailand and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. It is expected to be the most severe storm in over a generation to hit northern Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh, the region where it is expected to move over from sea to land. There have been so many instances in the past where such cyclones have veered northwards, sometimes over 90º, to threaten Odisha or even Bangladesh.
But Cyclone Vardah seems to be charting a straight path. And it is threatening wind speeds of 95kmph+; Chennai is the biggest city in its way, and we are all bracing for impact this afternoon.
Last evening was the proverbial calm before the storm. The sea at the Marina Beach was a little rougher than usual. The mounted police cantered up and down the beach, ensuring that folks were staying up, away from the water. In the midst of it all was this gentleman, probably trying to re-assure members of his family that Cyclone Vardah is not all that fearsome at is being made out - but then, we shall know the truth of that in a few hours from now!