Thursday, May 24, 2018
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Tropical storm slams into southern India


People look at Indian ship Pratibha Cauvery that ran aground with people on board, reportedly due to strong winds on the Bay of Bengal coast in Chennai, India, Wednesday,.


CHENNAI, India — More than 100,000 people were evacuated from their homes Wednesday as a tropical storm slammed into southern India from the Bay of Bengal, officials said.

The storm left at least two people dead, including a crew member of an oil tanker that ran aground off Chennai, the capital of Tamil Nadu state, the Press Trust of India news agency said.

Rain lashed the region and strong winds uprooted trees in some places. Weather officials said the storm had maximum winds of 75 kilometers (45 miles) per hour after making landfall.

A storm surge of up to 1.5 meters (5 feet) was expected to flood low-lying areas of Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh states, the India Meteorological Department said.

It said heavy to very heavy rain was expected over parts of the states during the next 24 hours. Fishermen were asked to stay at shore until Thursday.

An oil tanker with 37 crewmembers ran aground off Chennai, the capital of Tamil Nadu state just before the storm hit the shore, PTI reported.

One crewmember drowned and coast guard officers were searching for six others whose lifeboat reportedly capsized in the choppy waters as they tried to reach the shore, it said. Officials were not immediately available for comment.

A 46-year old man drowned after he slipped into the sea while walking on a pier as the sea became rough, PTI said.

State authorities turned 282 schools into relief centers in Chennai. The city's port halted cargo operations, officials said. Twenty-three ships were moved to safer areas.

About 150,000 people were moved to shelters in Nellore district in Andhra Pradesh state, district official B. Sridhar said.

In Sri Lanka, authorities said two people were killed and thousands displaced due to heavy rain and strong winds from the storm.

Sri Lanka's Disaster Management Center said 4,627 people across the island nation had been displaced by flooding, while 56 were evacuated in the central region because of threats of landslides. One woman died Tuesday after a tree branch fell on her, while another person was killed in flooding, the agency said. Floods also damaged about 1,000 houses, it said.

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