Wind, rain pound India as massive cyclone Phailin hits
BEHRAMPUR, INDIA (AP) - A massive, powerful cyclone packing heavy rains and destructive winds slammed into India's eastern coastline on Saturday evening, as hundreds of thousands of residents moved inland to shelters in hopes of riding out the dangerous storm.
Roads were all but empty as high waves lashed the coastline of Orissa state, which will bear the brunt of Cyclone Phailin. By mid-afternoon, wind gusts were so strong that they could blow over grown men. Seawater pushed inland, swamping villages where many people survive as subsistence farmers in mud and thatch huts.
As the cyclone swept across the Bay of Bengal toward the Indian coast, satellite images showed its spinning tails covering an area larger than France. Images appeared to show the storm making landfall early on Saturday night.
In Behrampur, a town about 10km inland from where the eye of the storm hit, the sky blackened quickly around the time of landfall, with heavy winds and rains pelting the empty streets.