Phailin, the much anticipated tropical cyclone, which has forced 500,000 to flee their homes has arrived on land in India. The site of the landfall featured winds of 160 MPH and 8 inches of rain. A storm surge of 14 to 40 feet battered the coastline, where Phailin made landfall.
The India Meteorological Department confirmed said that Phailin made landfall in Gopalpur Saturday evening with winds of 125 MPH. As the storm moves inland it will gradually weaken, say the experts. Before reaching land, it was a Category 5 storm but tapered off before hitting land.
As the storm makes it's way inland through Monday, it will trigger massive flooding and possibly large mudslides. That will make the high winds subside. Some deaths have already been attributed to Phailin, but there are conflicting reports on what the numbers might be.
Local police in the Indian state of Odisha, told CNN that trees were knocked down by the storm, killing 7 there. CNN and Reuters have confirmed at least three deaths.
There have been 26 named tropical storms in the area so far this year but this is only the second one to hit the Northern Indian Ocean. People living in this region still have the 1999 storm, 1999 Odisha cyclone, etched on their brain. It was equivalent to a Category 5 Hurricane and it killed 15,000 people.
The storm is expected to travel a path that would take it through over a million people.