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Cyclone Thane: 700 fishermen stranded

Chennai, Dec29  () : 100 fishing boats and 700 fishermen are stranded near the Nizampatnam Bay in neighbouring Andhra Pradesh due to rough sea conditions prevailing due to Cyclone Thane, expected to cross the coast by mid-noon tomorrow.

As weather forecasts reported about the cyclonic storm forming near Chennai and that it would move towards Andhra coast, boat owner associations radioed the weather warning message to all trawlers that left for fishing about five days ago. The trawlers moved towards safer areas near Krishnapatnam Port and nearby areas. No communication from about 100 boats was received and owners suspect that they might be stranded near Nizampatnam Bay due to the prevailing rough sea conditions.

Owners have appealed to the State government and the Indian Coast Guard (Eastern Region) to rescue their boats and 700-odd men onboard, before the arrival of Cyclone Thane. Fishing activities from Chennai, Tiruvallur and Kanchipuram have come to a standstill after weathermen cautioned fishermen from venturing into sea. About 10,000 fibre boats from these three districts were moved to safer locations in all fishing hamlets.

Chennai Corporation  has kept its four permanent relief centres located at Basin Bridge, Chintadripet, Gopalapuram and Perambur Barracks Road ready to accommodate people likely to be evacuated in case of torrential rains. Cyclone Thane, situated about 450 km east-south-east of Chennai, is likely to intensify further in the next 12 hours and move in a westerly direction. It is likely to cross the northern Tamil Nadu coast between Nagapattinam and Chennai near Puducherry Friday morning.

Tidal waves with heights of 1.1 metres would inundate low-lying areas of Chennai, Tiruvallur, Kancheepuram, Cuddalore, Villupuram and Nagapattinam districts and Puducherry when the storm crosses the coast.

Meanwhile, a huge wave at the Marina Beach created a scare on Wednesday as the water reached the service lane of Kamaraj Salai. Though it receded, a big pool of water remained on the beach. The Met office described it a swell wave. About a metre high swell wave could inundate parts of Chennai, Tiruvallur, Kanchipuram and Villupuram districts. Fishermen in north Chennai are expecting the worst since they believe that a cyclone in the Tamil month of Margazhi means bad news.