Cyclone Thane crosses east coast, 33 killed

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Chennai: A severe cyclone dumped heavy rain and sent wind gusts up to 140kmph after it hit the Tamil Nadu coast on Friday killing at least 33 persons and left a trail of destruction and threw life out of gear in Cuddalore district and adjacent Union Territory of Puducherry. The cyclonic storm `Thane` however left the southern Andhra Pradesh coast unscathed after keeping everyone in the state on toes for the last two days. The two southern states were on high alert.

Cuddalore, about 170km from here on the east coast, bore the brunt of the cyclonic fury, accounting for 21 deaths, Puducherry(seven), Villupuram and Tiruvallur(two each) and Chennai(one)in rain-related incidents mainly wall collapse and electrocution, officials said. The storm crossed the coast between Cuddalore and Puducherry bringing in its wake torrential rains accompanied by gale that uprooted hundreds of trees and knocked electric poles, snapping power supply in several areas.

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa said the cyclone claimed 26 lives in four districts in the state and released Rs150 crore for immediate relief works. The tiny Puducherry was cut off from neighbouring districts in Tamil Nadu with the uprooted trees blocking road traffic.

The cyclone also disrupted rail and air operations with services cancelled or rescheduled. Flights to international destinations including the middle-east and Malaysia from Chennai were cancelled following the inclement weather.

Southern Railway partially cancelled and rescheduled most of the trains between Chennai and southern districts. In Chennai, a cargo ship ran aground off Marina Beach with the sea conditions remaining rough. Sheet of water could be seen on the service road along the beach which was lashed by tidal waves.

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