The very severe cyclonic storm, 'Thane', today crossed the Tamil Nadu coast, leaving six persons dead and causing extensive damage to Cuddalore and the neighbouring Union Territory of Puduchery which remained cut-off from the nearby districts of the state.
Five persons died in Cuddalore in incidents of wall collapse and electrocution, officials said.
A 45-year old man of Vanarampet village in Puducherry died in house collapse.
Train services from southern Tamil Nadu were hit as many of them ran late or were stopped in the nearby station while flights to international destinations by private carriers including to Kuwait and Malaysia from Chennai were cancelled.
Puduchery District Collector S B Deepak Kumar told PTI that rescue operations were in full swing in the union territory.
Uprooted trees were being removed from the roads.
The regional weather office here said, "The very severe cyclonic storm 'THANE' over southwest Bay of Bengal moved further westward and crossed north Tamil Nadu coast between Cuddalore and Puducherry between 6.30 and 7.30 AM today." It had now weakened into a severe cyclonic storm and lay about 30 km west of Cuddalore and 35 km southwest of Puduchery, it said, adding wind speeds of upto 140 kph was recorded during this period. "Under the influence of this system, rainfall at most places with heavy to very heavy falls at a few places would occur over north coastal Tamil Nadu and Puducherry during next 12 hours and over north interior Tamil Nadu during next 24 hours," a weather bulletin said.
Further, isolated heavy to very heavy rainfall would occur over south coastal Andhra Pradesh during next 12 hours and over Rayalseema, north Kerala and south Karnataka during the next 24 hours.
Cuddalore district in Tamil Nadu was the most affected, with damaged roads rendering it difficult for rescue teams including those from National Disaster Response Force and Fire and Rescue Services to reach the cyclone hit fishing hamlets.
District Collector Amuthavalli said even as communication lines remained affected, over 5000 houses of fishermen had been damaged.
An official said around 400 trees had been uprooted on the Cuddalore-Chidambaram road, resulting in suspension of vehicular movement.
Power production at the Lignite Neyveli Corporation was affected as the mines were submerged. Puducherry was cut off from the neighbouring districts of Villupuram and Cuddalore in Tamil Nadu as several trees fell on the roads due to the impact of gale, official sources said.
Bus services between Puducherry and Tamil Nadu and other distant pockets were suspended due to disruption of traffic. Power supply was suspended since last night as a precautionary measure.
At Chennai, the City Corporation moved more than 2700 persons to safer areas and had made all arrangements for providing food.
Around 50 trees had been uprooted following the overnight squally winds, but no casualty or injury was reported, the civic agency said in a release.
Meanwhile, high wind speed, reaching upto 90-100 kmph and gusting to 110 kmph was likely along and off north Tamil Nadu and Puducherry coasts and adjoining areas of north interior Tamil Nadu during next few hours and then decrease gradually, the weather office said.
Sea condition was very high along and off north Tamil Nadu, Puducherry and adjoining south Andhra Pradesh coasts and fishermen were not asked to venture into the sea.