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Thousands evacuated as east India braces for Cyclone Yaas, 2 reported dead in tornado (VIDEOS)

Thousands evacuated as east India braces for Cyclone Yaas, 2 reported dead in tornado (VIDEOS)
Around 11,000 people have been evacuated from the east Indian states of Odisha and West Bengal as the region prepares for the impact of the powerful storm Cyclone Yaas, due to make landfall early on Wednesday.

The storm is set to intensify into a “very severe cyclonic storm” and smash into the Indian coast between Paradip and Sagar Island, the India Meteorological Department has warned.

The center of the cyclone is moving at speeds of between 125-135 kilometers per hour, with gusts of up to 150kmph, according to the latest forecast.

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Coastal areas in Odisha have already been battered by winds of up to 60 kmph, with the state’s Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik saying saving lives would be a “priority” and appealing for the public “not to panic.”

Footage posted on social media on Tuesday purported to show a tornado striking West Bengal’s Hooghly district.

That state’s Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said two people were electrocuted in Hooghly’s Chinsura municipality after a tornado briefly ripped through the area, destroying 40 houses in about 90 seconds, according to NDTV.

A total of 17 military relief units are also being deployed in West Bengal, with inflatable boats on hand for potential rescue operations.

The Indian Railways authority has said that more than 100 trains have been canceled across the country since Saturday, some of which have now been chained to the tracks as a precaution ahead of the cyclone making landfall.

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