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Cyclone Thane lashes India's south coast

(Chinadaily.com.cn)

15:52, December 30, 2011

A boy struggles to hold onto his umbrella during strong winds on Marina beach in the southern Indian city of Chennai Dec 29, 2011. (Photo/Agencies)

CHENNAI, Indian - Lashing rains and gale force winds bore down on India's southeastern coast on Friday, disrupting power supplies and communication lines as Cyclone Thane landfall near the industrial city of Chennai, officials and witnesses said.

Packing wind speeds of up to 125 kmph (77 mph) and accompanied by tidal surges of up to 1.5 metres (5 feet), Thane hit Tamil Nadu state, close to the former French colonial town of Pondicherry on Friday morning, as coastal villagers moved to relief shelters.

"Under the influence of this system, rainfall at most places with heavy to very heavy falls at a few places and isolated extremely heavy falls would occur," said the Indian Meteorological Department in its latest bulletin.

"Gale winds speed reaching 120-130 kmph gusting to 145 kmph is likely along and off north Tamil Nadu and Pondicherry coasts during next 3 hours and then decrease gradually."

Witnesses in Chennai and Pondicherry said trees had been toppled and there had been power outages throughout the night and disruptions in phone and Internet services in some areas.

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