Cyclone Nilam swept across coastal areas of Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Ponducherry on Wednesday, killing two people.
A life boat carrying 22 people capsized in south Chennai due to gusty winds, leaving one dead. Chennai Port Trust officials said that they were trying to escape after the ship Pratibha Cauvery carrying 37 crew ran aground due to bad weather. The search for other six crew is on.
It is reported that a 46-year-old man died in Puducherry after he slipped and drowned in the sea while watching the cyclone with his friends.
Schools, colleges and offices in Chennai were closed on Wednesday due to heavy rainfall caused by the cyclone.
About 4,000 people staying in the Mahabalipuram coast have been evacuated, according to reports.
The National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) has stationed three battalions of National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) to meet any eventuality in Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh. Authorities have asked the people to stay indoors and directed fishermen not to venture into the sea.
Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) observatories indicate that the maximum wind speed 75 kmph was reported over Chennai and 65 kmph over Kalpakkam at the time of landfall.
"Cyclonic storm Nilam moved north-northwestwards, crossed north Tamilnadu coast near Mahabalipuram, south of Chennai (near latitude 12.60 N and longitude 80.20 E) between 1600 and 1700 hrs IST of today (Wednesday)," said a statement from IMD.
"System would move northwestwards and weaken into a deep depression during next 06 hours," it added.
The IMD warned "rainfall at most places with heavy to very heavy falls at a few places and isolated extremely heavy falls (25 cm or more) would occur over north coastal Tamil Nadu and Puducherry during next 12 hrs." It also said that south coastal Andhra Pradesh, Rayalaseema and Puducherry would experience heavy rainfall with wind speed from 65 kmph to 85 kmph in the next 12 hours.
The National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) too had issued an alert that Cyclone Nilam would hit parts of Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Puducherry with wind velocity of 80-100 kmph on Wednesday.