Squally weather with wind speeds of 50-60 kmph interspersed with heavy rain disrupted normal life along the coast in Tamil Nadu as ‘Laila,' the tropical cyclone which was centred over southwest and adjoining west-central Bay of Bengal, about 150 km east-north east of Chennai, intensified and moved in a northerly direction. The cyclonic storm is likely to intensify further and expected to cross Andhra Pradesh coast between Nellore and Kakinada, close to Machilipatnam, by Thursday morning. Heavy winds and rain in Pamban and other coastal pockets of Ramanathapuram district on Tuesday night claimed the life of a fisherman and damaged fishing boats and equipment. A fisherman, identified as Muthulingam (52), was killed at sea on Tuesday night while fishing. In Mandapam, fishermen said 50 mechanised boats were partly damaged and one fully damaged. In Pambam, 16 country boats were fully damaged and 71 partially damaged.
Electricity poles and large trees were uprooted at many places. Fishermen Association members Rayappan and Selvaraj called upon the government to compensate for the loss of property.
In Cuddalore, four fishermen who had set sail from two different places in the district on Tuesday are missing. R.Subramani (60), his son S. Anand (26) and R. Bhoopalan (23) left the coastal village in a fibre boat. Similarly, S. Sahaya Raj went fishing alone from Sonankuppam.
The Fisheries Department has alerted the Coast Guard who in turn have launched a search operation in their patrolling boat. Once the weather cleared, the Coast Guard would deploy a helicopter to locate the missing fishermen, officials said.
The Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) forecast predicted rain or thundershowers at most places over north coastal Tamil Nadu and Puducherry and at many places over rest of Tamil Nadu. Isolated heavy to very heavy rain would occur over the State till the morning of May 21.
The sky conditions may be generally cloudy with one or two spells of rain, said an IMD forecast for Chennai city and its neighbourhood.
Keywords: cyclone Laila