Cyclone Hudhud Reaches Peak Strength As It Batters India

Cyclone Hudhud, packing gusts of up to 195 kilometers an hour (over 120 mph), reached peak strength and caused extensive damage to India’s eastern seaboard on Sunday morning. It was expected to hit the coast with full force around noon local time. India’s disaster relief agency organized the evacuation of more than 150,000 people on Saturday to minimize the toll from Hudhud – which is similar in size and power to cyclone Phailin that devastated the area a year ago to the day. In and around the city of Visakhapatnam – known to locals as Vizag and home to a major naval base – strengthening winds were already causing extensive damage and knocking out power supplies. “Hundreds of trees have been uprooted and power lines knocked down,” K. Hymavathi, the special commissioner for disaster management for Andhra Pradesh state, told Reuters by telephone. Streets in Vizag that had been bustling on Saturday were deserted as shrill, roaring winds lashed the city, smashing windows and damaging buildings. With power out, many people had to resort to back-up generators.

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