MUMBAI India's weather office called on Sunday for fishermen to stay ashore hours before a very severe cyclone storm was due to strike the southeast coast, including Chennai, one of the most populous Indian cities.
The cyclone "Vardah" is moving in from the Bay of Bengal and will landfall along and off Chennai on Monday afternoon with wind speed of 100 kmph, the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) said in its latest bulletin.
From Sunday evening coastal areas of southern states of Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh will start getting heavy rainfall and extremely heavy rainfall is likely over Chennai and adjourning areas on Monday, the IMD said.
India's cyclone season generally lasts from April to December, often causing dozens of deaths, evacuations of tens of thousands of people from low-lying villages and widespread crop and property damage.
In 1999, a "super-cyclone" battered the coast of the eastern state of Odisha for 30 hours with wind speeds reaching 300 kmph. It killed 10,000 people.
(Reporting by Rajendra Jadhav; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky)