Cyclone Fani makes landfall in Odisha

By Swati Gupta, Helen Regan, Brandon Miller, Meg Wagner and Jessie Yeung, CNN

Updated 2:53 p.m. ET, May 3, 2019
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1:05 a.m. ET, May 3, 2019

10,000 villages in direct line of storm

About 10,000 villages and 52 towns in nine districts in the eastern state of Odisha are in the direct line of Tropical Cyclone Fani. 

India has classified Fani as an "extremely severe cyclonic storm" and deployed ships and helicopters for relief and rescue operations. Army and air force units have also been put on standby in Odisha, West Bengal and Andhra Pradesh states.

Watch for more:

12:38 a.m. ET, May 3, 2019

Inland flooding a major threat

Cyclone Fani has now made landfall near Puri in the eastern Indian state of Odisha, bringing with it the threat of storm surges.
Cyclone Fani has now made landfall near Puri in the eastern Indian state of Odisha, bringing with it the threat of storm surges. DIBYANGSHU SARKAR/AFP/Getty Images

Fani is expected to bring large storm surges and significant wind damage near the landfall location in the eastern state of Odisha. Inland flooding is also a major threat.

Parts of eastern India and Bangladesh can expect up to 300 millimeters (12 inches) of rain.

Low-lying river deltas of northeastern India are particularly vulnerable to storm-surge flooding.

12:27 a.m. ET, May 3, 2019

More than 1 million people evacuated as Cyclone Fani hits Odisha

From CNN's Helen Regan

Evacuees in a relief shelter in Puri, in the eastern Indian state of Odisha, on Friday.
Evacuees in a relief shelter in Puri, in the eastern Indian state of Odisha, on Friday. DIBYANGSHU SARKAR/AFP/Getty Images

The office for Odisha's chief minister tweeted that more than 1 million people had been evacuated from vulnerable areas across the state.

More than 900 cyclone shelters have been set up to house evacuees.

12:19 a.m. ET, May 3, 2019

Fani is first tropical cyclone of year in northern Indian Ocean

From CNN's Swati Gupta, Brandon Miller and Helen Regan

What is expected to be India's strongest tropical cyclone to make landfall in 20 years slammed into the country's east coast Friday, with officials evacuating about 1 million people.

The season doesn't have a defined start and end like the Atlantic hurricane season, but it does have two main periods of activity: late April to early June, and October to November.

These two periods are before and immediately after India's southwest monsoon season. That season lasts from June through September and provides India with the vast majority of its annual rainfall.

Tropical cyclone activity during the monsoon season is extremely rare because the monsoon is characterized by high wind shear, making it difficult for tropical storms to form.

12:12 a.m. ET, May 3, 2019

Tropical Cyclone Fani makes landfall in Odisha

From CNN's Taylor Ward

Tropical Cyclone Fani made landfall near Puri, in the Indian state of Odisha, about 9:30 a.m. local time (12 a.m. ET) on Friday.

Fani brought sustained winds of 240 kilometers per hour (149 mph) -- the equivalent of a super typhoon or Category 4 hurricane. 

It is the strongest storm to hit India since 1999.