Heavy rains under the influence of cyclonic storm Laila lashed coastal districts of north Tamil Nadu, claiming two lives and throwing normal life out of gear.

Several fishermen, who put out to sea in 100 boats were reported missing since Monday, according to fisheries department sources.

The fishermen of Pamban, Uchipuli and nearby areas who ventured into sea on May 17 night in boats with outboard motors were missing, they said.

The cyclonic storm is expected to cross the Andhra Pradesh coast tomorrow.

Police said a 52-year-old fisherman drowned in rough seas at Tirupalakudi in Ramanathapuram district, while a 24-year-old woman, an employee in a software firm in Chennai, was electrocuted at suburban Velachery.

Coastal areas of Chennai, Nagapattinam, Cuddalore, Kancheepuram, Tiruvallur and Cuddalore districts have been experiencing heavy rains since last night.

A report from Cuddalore said three fishermen of Devanampattinam were missing after they ventured into sea in a fibre boat last afternoon. Search operations could not be carried out immediately in view of high tides and very rough sea, officials said.

In another incident, four fishermen were injured when five boats capsized as they were heading towards shore in Cuddalore district, they said.

The Met office said ‘Laila’, which lay over southwest and adjoining West central Bay of Bengal, moved north-westwards and was now centred about 190 km east-northeast of Chennai.

The system was likely to intensify and move in a north-westerly to northerly direction and cross Andhra Pradesh coast between Nellore and Kakinada, close to Machilipatnam by Friday.

Under its influence, north coastal Tamil Nadu and coastal Andhra Pradesh are likely to experience widespread rainfall with scattered heavy to very heavy falls and isolated extremely heavy falls in the next 48 hours starting this morning, it said.

Thozhudur (in Cuddalore) received maximum rainfall of 9 cm while Chennai reported 8 cm since Tuesday. Tiruvallur, Nagapattinam and Kancheepuram also received good rainfall.

Fishermen have been warned not to venture into the sea. Those living in huts along the coast have also been advised to move to safer places and people in rain affected areas to remain indoors.

Several areas in Chennai and suburbs were inundated as people were forced to wade through knee-deep water. Office goers were put to hardship as traffic in all major roads moved at snail’s pace due to water logging.

In several areas, trees were uprooted in strong surface winds, compounding the woes of traffic managers.

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