Adyar-renovation Newsletter: The Elephants #6 – December 2016 Extra Cyclone

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Tropical cyclone Vardah hits Chennai and Adyar

Tropical cyclone Vardah, the first hurricane-strength storm to hit the Bay of Bengal this season, has struck the coastal Indian city of Chennai and Adyar. The storm uprooted trees, overturned cars and caused extensive damage to buildings as it tore across the city. At least 10 people have died, according to the National Disaster Management Authority. The winds at landfall on Monday December 12th were around 140 kilometres per hour (87 miles per hour), making Vardah equal to a Category 1 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson scale.

Prior to the storm’s landing, Chennai already was pounded with heavy rain and winds. The Indian Meteorological Department has issued heavy rain warnings for the whole of southern India. Fisherman have been told not to take their boats out for two more days.

Pictures from CNN World Weather

The cyclone damaged the Adyar campus

Three days after the cyclone it is still not exactly clear how much damage is done to the campus, since nearly all roads are strewn with fallen trees.


Besant Avenue after the storm, the road is blocked with trees

The big tree in front of the library

Beside old Quadrangle

Near the administration building

Near Headquarters Building

The temporary theatre roof for the Convention before the storm

The temporary theatre roof had just been finished in time for the Convention

The temporary theatre roof after the storm

Roads are blocked

Main roads on the entire estate are blocked by fallen trees, therefore it is difficult to get a detailed overview of all the damage 

Cleaning and repairing started

There is a huge amount of work to be done, but immediately after the disaster the cleaning up and repairing started.


The Convention will definitely go on! Accommodating some participants might cause difficulties, but Adyar’s team on the ground is working on solutions, 24/7. In case the theatre roof won’t be finished in time, the Convention proceedings will be relocated to the large meeting hall in Headquarters building.