Cyclone Vardha stroke Chennai on Monday created an environmental havoc, bringing down thousands of trees across the city (which is estimated to go beyond 10,000) turning into a forest environ and ruin. It’s really hard to describe the state, although there isn’t much loss of lives, the trees aren’t less than anymore and what we have lost is impossible to replace immediately. Most of the trees are at least more than 10 to 50 years old. The city recorded high wind velocity of its history, lasting up to 140km speed smashed almost everything it could, from trees to sheet roofs, hoardings to electric poles and transformers, flipped cars and bus… its unimagined before that we face a great damage to our breathing source - trees. Almost streets in our city faced a tree fall! I ever heard or seen a situation alike and even on our street there’s half a dozen tree fall.
The Vardha cyclone had been pretty fast and doesn’t left with enough time to prepare well, but we still managed good at least preserving the lives. We well aware there won’t be power on the day of landfall and following days, so we filled our overhead tanks and charged all the battery operated in advance, perhaps the last year’s devastating flood taught us to be precaution than before. As expected the power goes off as soon wind started to blow with heavy rain and the DTH went out of signal, from which we were learning about the progress of the cyclone and the mobiles also lost network in next few hours. It was a storm, a howling we ever heard before. The tense was at high while the rainwater continues to rise around the home and the terrific wind creating a feel of unsafe to find out. We did none until the cyclone took a brake by 2.pm.
Glad the mobile network lasted sometime and if not we would have thought the cyclone landfall quite. I know it was a very severe storm but never to be very extreme and long-lasting. It took more than 7 hours for the cyclone to completely landfall with an eye (centre part of cyclone) of 100km, which passed in quietness for about 2 hours, before resurface into another extreme twist and turns. The road was blocked on both the sides of the house, because of the tree fall; we had no option just to move to the upper portion of this house which was rented but unoccupied. As we’re uncertain about the rainfall, due to storm, we moved to upstairs after getting permission from the “down-to-earth” household. But there wasn’t much rain after the first stroke and the rainwater also restraint entering the house but the streets turned messy due of fallen leaves and stalks.
There was no power for quite 2 days/night, but had enough power in the inverter for a day which we used for charging mobiles (for the torch), battery light, mosquito bat to spent our evening and night with less trouble. The next day power was restored at our uncle’s house (in the next street) and we brought the inverter there and got charged for another night. It was our neighbours, whose protest and road blocking brought back the power immediately, if not it would have taken a day or two. Glad we moved our car to another location… the wind was very extreme and there was a loud bang outside. Yes, a 30 feet tall cotton tree fell completely and slightly across the road. And if the wind was blown from the east it would have blocked our way and crashed the car. I really need to say I miss this tree, because it was a cotton tree and if the pods broke away the cotton would float in the air and many green parakeets visit this tree to feed on the cotton pods seeds.
It’s really sad to think how many birds missed their favourite trees in the cyclone Vardha, a word our Chennaities will not forget for long. When the centre part or eye of the cyclone landfall suddenly number of birds appears from somewhere, started to circle the sky near a skyscraper in neighbourhood, perhaps looking for some hideout to protect them from the storm. I learned from the metro plus, many birds from the deep sea have been pulled into the city by the cyclone and the water birds were landed on the marshlands of Pallikaranai and Thuraipakkam. I really wonder how birds manage such strong winds and nesting of birds… but I am happy to see crows, parakeets and babblers back in the neighbourhood. The sudden rushes of birds on the day were looked similar as sparrows and were flying so terrified and bewilder to head where. Hope there’s a sense of peace in their environment despite great loss of trees – arresting.