Tropical Cyclone Phailin has made landfall in northeastern India, where a catastrophe threatens to unfold and deaths are already being reported, but there are conflicting reports as to the exact number. Local police in the Indian state of Odisha told CNN-IBN, CNN’s sister network in India, that trees downed by Phailin’s strong winds killed seven people.
Destructive winds well over 160 kph (100 mph) and flooding rain of at least 100-200 mm (4-8 inches) is expected across a wide area. There will be a crippling storm surge of 4-6 meters (14-20 feet) near the landfall point of Phailin. The India Meteorological Department confirmed that Phailin made landfall in Gopalpur Saturday evening with winds over 200 kph (125 mph).
For much of Friday night into early Saturday afternoon, Phailin had been the equivalent to a Category 5 hurricane or super typhoon, but the storm slightly weakened prior to reaching land. Now onshore, Phailin will continue to weaken as it tracks northwestward through northeastern India. Phailin remains an extremely dangerous storm with severe impacts to lives and property, despite the weakening trend.
Torrential rain, capable of triggering life-threatening flooding, will accompany Phailin across northeastern India through Monday. Mudslides are also a concern in the higher terrain. As Phailin weakens, so will its destructive winds.