CHENNAI: Devastating cyclone Nilam crossed the Tamil Nadu coast north of Chennai Wednesday evening between Mamallapuram and Kalpakkam and later slammed into the Andhra Pradesh cost, leaving 11 people dead and causing some serious damage to property.
The cyclone so far has claimed eight lives in Tamil Nadu and three in Andhra Pradesh.
Incessant rains throughout the night have thrown normal life into a state of disarray in the coastal districts of Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh, caused flooding in several parts.
The cyclone also pushed the Prathiba Kavery ship from Mumbai to the shore near Elliots Beach. Seventeen people, stranded on the ship, were however later rescued.
More than 200 electric posts were destroyed when the cyclone hit the land in various places. Relief and rescue teams across the country's southern states have been deployed to combat the destruction caused by the storm.
Destruction of property was yet to be assessed, but the damage may not be similar to the one inflicted by Cylcone Thane in December last year, state government officials said.
"The storm crossed the coast between 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. Strong winds will continue for another six hours and by Thursday morning everything will calm down," Y.E.A. Raj, deputy director general, India Meteorological Department (IMD) told IANS.
Nevertheless the Tamil Nadu government has declared a holiday for schools and colleges in the coastal districts Thursday.
"We are experiencing strong winds and not rains. We have not received any complaints about loss of life or damage to properties," a police official in Kalpakkam told IANS over phone.
Chennai Corporation had made arrangements to remove the fallen trees immediately.
Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa reviewed the preventive measures to be taken during the storm while ordering adequate stocks of essential items at relief centres.
In Hyderabad, minister for revenue, relief and rehabilitation Raghuveera Reddy, who reviewed the situation with officials Wednesday evening, said the state was not facing any major threat.
Electricity supply was disrupted in villages under 16 mandals in Nellore district due strong winds. Heavy rains lashed Nellore, Prakasam, Guntur and Chittoor districts. (With inputs from Agencies)