Jim Andrews

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Tropical Cyclone Nilam Hits Chennai

October 31, 2012; 7:09 AM ET

Tropical Cyclone Nilam has unleashed torrential rain and damaging winds as it landed in southeastern India on Wednesday.

Landfall was within 50 miles south of Chennai (Madras), in northern Tamil Nadu state.

There were no early reports of injury or significant damage.

The expected landfall was to be between Puducherry and Nellore by Wednesday evening, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said.


Tropical Cyclone Nilam crosses the Tamil Nadu coast near Chennai. Time is about 1100 UTC Wednesday, Oct. 31, 2012.

The IMD warned of winds to 110 km/h, or almost 70 mph, with damage to huts, trees, electrical infrastructure and standing crops.

Warned rainfall was above 25 cm, or 10 inches, enough to trigger serious flooding.

Storm surge was forecast to be 1.0 to 1.5 meters, or about 3 to 5 feet, bringing flooding along low-lying shores.

Sri Lanka, which was brushed by the cyclone's flooding rain and strong winds early in the week, was allowing thousands of evacuated people to return to their homes, the Australian website said on Wednesday.

The last tropical cyclone to strike Tamil Nadu happened in January, when Cyclone Thane killed 46 people and spread a trail of destruction.

Neighboring Andra Pradesh state had its most severe tropical cyclone in 1977, when unnamed storm slammed the Krishna River delta region. The confirmed toll was 14,204 killed, but estimated loss of life was put at 50,000, according to Wikipedia.

The views expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those of AccuWeather, Inc. or AccuWeather.com

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