[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 Odisha and the neighboring state of Andhra Pradesh, national disaster-management authority chief Marri Shashidhar Reddy said.
More than 400,000 were moved to safety in Odisha alone, he told CNN.
Many of those evacuated from low-lying coastal areas of Odisha left on foot or by bicycle, Kamal Lochan Mishra said.
They are being housed in nearly 250 emergency shelters set up in sturdy buildings like schools and government offices.
The Ganjam district of Odisha is expected to be the worst hit, with disaster preparedness efforts concentrated there, CNN-IBN reported.
The India Meteorological Department warned of extensive damage to kutcha houses, those made of flimsy materials like mud and bamboo, as well as damage to old buildings.
Power and communication lines are likely to suffer large-scale disruption. Extensive flooding will also disrupt rail and road traffic, and crops are likely to suffer major damage, it said.
In Gopalpur, a coastal resort town in Ganjam, restaurants were shuttered and streets deserted Saturday afternoon, as rain lashed down. Tourists and local residents were asked to leave the town.
Power was out in coastal areas including Kalingapatnam, from where about 80,000 people were evacuated to relief camps, CNN-IBN reported. Some fishermen earlier told the broadcaster they had defied the order to leave, anxious to see what happened on the shore.