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Friday, 30 December 2011

Cyclone Thane crosses Tamil Nadu coast, 18 dead; leaves Andhra unscathed


Cyclone Thane crosses Tamil Nadu coast, 18 dead; leaves Andhra unscathed
A man rides a motorbike on a damaged highway along the Bay of Bengal Sea on the outskirts of Chennai after Cyclone Thane. (Reuters photo)
CHENNAI: Severe cyclonic storm 'Thane' today claimed 18 lives as it hit the Tamil Nadu coast, leaving a trail of destruction and throwing life out of gear in Cuddalore district and neighbouring Union Territory of Puducherry. Cuddalore, about 170 km from here on the east coast, bore the brunt of the cylocnic fury, accounting for nine deaths, Puducherry seven and Chennai two in rain-related incidents such as wall collapse and electrocution, officials said.

'Thane' crossed the coast between Cuddalore and Puducherry bringing in its wake torrential rains accompanied by gale that uprooted hundreds of trees and electric poles, snapping power supply in several areas. The tiny Puducherry was cut off from neighbouring districts in Tamil Nadu with the uprooted trees blocking road traffic.

After the landfall, Thane moved further westward and weakened rapidly into a deep depression and lay centered at about 100 km west of Cuddalore, the regional weather office here said. "The system is likely to move westwards and weaken further," it said forecasting heavy rainfall for the next 12-24 hours in different parts of the state and Puducherry and advised fishermen against venturing into sea due to rough conditions.

Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa sanctioned a sum of Rs 150 crore towards immediate relief works including putting back in shape the infrastructure which has taken a hit and directing four of her cabinet colleagues to visit affected districts to oversee relief work.

'Thane' leaves Andhra Pradesh coast unscathed

After keeping everyone in Andhra Pradesh on toes for the last two days, Cyclone Thane subsided this evening. Only two tehsils in the coastal Nellore district received 9.8 cm of rain, while 174 other tehsils received moderate rains, state Revenue Minister N Raghuveera Reddy said.

Briefing reporters after a review meeting this evening, Raghuveera said the sea had calmed and no damage to property or casualties had been reported. "By God's grace, there is no loss of life or property anywhere. Everything is returning to normal," he said.

However, all relief teams, including the National Disaster Response Force, have been asked to remain on alert for another day and fishermen too have been advised not to venture into the sea for one more day.