|Onlookers watch ship Pratibha Cauvery, which ran aground allegedly due to strong winds, on the bay of Bengal coast in Chennai, southeast India, Oct. 31, 2012. Thousands of people evacuated from their homes in southeast India on Wednesday as a cyclone slammed into the coast, killing two people. (Xinhua/Stringer)
NEW DELHI, Nov. 1 (Xinhua) -- At least two persons have died since a cyclone hit the south-eastern coast of India on Wednesday evening, officials say.
The Cyclone Nilam hit the southern states of Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and centrally controlled Pondicherry town with wind speeds reaching up to 100 kms per hour, triggering heavy rainfall in large parts of the two states.
"A crew member of an oil tanker drowned after a boat carrying him and others capsized in the choppy seas near Tamil Nadu's capital Chennai. Another man also slipped into the rough sea and drowned in Pondicherry," the officials say.
Local TV channels reported that schools and colleges in Chennai have been closed since Tuesday and there is power cuts across the town of Mahabalipuram which has a beach.
Meanwhile, India's weather department has warned of continual rainfall, strong winds and rising tides, and urged fishermen not to venture out in the high seas.
The last cyclone in India struck in the same southeast region in January, claiming 42 lives and leaving a trail of destruction across Tamil Nadu. In May 2010, some 23 people were killed as a powerful cyclone caused havoc across Andhra Pradesh.