Indian evacuees travel in an auto rickshaw as they leave their village towards a safe place through heavy wind and rain in Sanabandha Village near Gopalpur, about 195 south from eastern city Bhubaneswar on October 12, 2013. Nearly half a million people have been evacuated from India's impoverished east coast ahead of a massive cyclone expected to make landfall on October 12 evening, disaster officials said.
Cyclone slams India's east coast
02:32 - Source: CNN

Editor’s Note:

Story highlights

Power lines and trees are down, cars are overturned

Nearly 8 inches of rain falls in Bhubaneswar since Friday

The cyclone made landfall at 9 p.m. (11:30 a.m. ET)

More than 500,000 people are evacuated, a disaster official says

Bhubaneswar, India CNN  — 

[Breaking news update 12:09 a.m.]

There have been at least four confirmed deaths from Tropical Cyclone Phailin, Amitabh Thakor, deputy inspector general of Brahmapur, Odisha, told CNN. Three were killed Saturday; a fourth was confirmed dead Sunday. Local police told CNN’s sister network in India, CNN-IBN, that seven people had been killed by falling trees.

[Last update at 10:24 p.m.]

In morning light, India assesses damage from Cyclone Phailin

(CNN) – Morning light on Sunday revealed some of the damage from Tropical Cyclone Phailin, which made landfall on India’s eastern coast as the strongest storm to hit India in 14 years.

Power lines and trees were down and cars were overturned near the spot where the center of the storm struck the coast around 9 p.m. (11:30 a.m. ET) Saturday in eastern Odisha state, along the Bay of Bengal.

Debris littered wet streets, roofs were torn off houses and windows on buildings were smashed in Brahmapur.

Odisha’s director-general of police, Prakash Mishra, told CNN that two men and a woman were killed by trees brought down by heavy winds in the state. Local police in Odisha told CNN’s sister network in India, CNN-IBN, that seven people had been killed by falling trees.

Hurricanes are known as cyclones in the Indian Ocean, and the wind speed at landfall – 140 mph – made it equivalent to a Category 4 hurricane.

India evacuated more than a half-million people in advance of the storm, hoping to avoid a repetition of what happened 1999, when a cyclone claimed 10,000 lives.

“We have taken a zero-casualty approach,” said Odisha state disaster manager Kamal Lochan Mishra. “If people do not move, force will be used to evacuate them.”

Since Friday, Phailin has brought nearly 8 inches of rain to Odisha’s capital of Bhubaneswar, about 30 miles from the coast. The city’s average rainfall for October is 6.5 inches.

The storm will continue to fall apart as it moves over land, but tropical-storm-force winds are still possible through early Monday, said CNN Meteorologist Judson Jones. Rainfall will also be a problem as Phailin moves up toward the Himalayas in Nepal.

Multiple states in the region were under weather warnings for excessive rainfall and thunderstorms for most of Sunday and into Monday, Jones said.

500,000 people evacuated

Residents were evacuated to safer places in Odis