Asia

Thousands evacuated as cyclone nears southern India

Authorities in southern India have evacuated thousands of people from low-lying areas after weather experts issued a cyclone warning.

Schools and offices were closed and state authorities were on alert Monday in Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh states as Cyclone Vardah neared India's southeastern coast.

Police and disaster management teams evacuated more than 15,000 people from low-lying areas, moving them to safer places as heavy rains and strong winds lashed the region.

The meteorological office said the cyclone was expected to make landfall near the city of Chennai later Monday.

Fishermen in the two coastal states were warned not to head out, with the seas expected to be rough for the next two days.

Officials said Indian navy ships and air force planes were ready to handle any emergencies.