Cyclone Fani, seen here by NOAA-20 on Thursday, made landfall Friday morning (local time) over India's Odisha state near Puri as the equivalent of a strong Category 4 on the Saffir-Simpson Wind Scale. The storm battered India’s low-lying, densely populated coast with heavy rainfall, storm surge and wind gusts of up to 127 mph.
Authorities evacuated some 1.1 million people to higher ground ahead of the storm’s landfall, according to media reports. Videos posted to social media show a 250-foot crane crashing onto a building during the storm. In addition to uprooted trees and downed powerlines, a government official in India shared a video of Fani’s winds ripping a roof off of a hospital. The extent of the damage left behind by Fani is still being evaluated.
Cyclone Fani will continue to impact the eastern part of India, which means that there are is still no official estimate of how much damage or casualties have occurred. However, NDTV, a major Indian news network, has reported at least three deaths as a result of the storm. The last major storm to hit in the same region roughly 20 years ago in 1999, caused more than 10,000 fatalities and an estimated $4.4 billion (1999 USD) in damage.