Cyclone pummels eastern Indian coast, kills 19
December 30, 2011 -- Updated 1409 GMT (2209 HKT)
- NEW: The storm uprooted trees and sent debris flying through the air
- Meteorologists forecast heavy rainfall and high winds across the region
- Fisherman are told to stay at home for the day as Thane whips up high seas
- Damage is expected to palm-thatched homes, trees and crops in coastal areas
New Delhi (CNN) -- Lashing winds and heavy rain pummeled India's southeastern coastline Friday as Cyclone Thane roared onshore killing at least 19 people.
The storm uprooted trees, ripped off traffic signals from their posts and sent shards of glass and other debris whizzing through the air.
Roads began to flood and communications were tough because of cellular service outages.
Thane hit the states of Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu and the union territory of Puducherry. But it took a decidedly southern turn as it made landfall, severely affecting the Tamil Nadu district of Cuddalore, south of the city of Chennai. Winds were gusting in Cuddalore at almost 90 miles per hour.
At least 12 people died in Cuddalore, said Amuthavalli, the district's top official who goes by a single name.
She told CNN the fatalities were the result of wall collapses and electrocution.
No major rescue operations were required. The death toll in the district is not expected to rise greatly, she said.
Emergency crews were working to restore power supplies and clear roads of fallen trees and downed power lines, she added.
Meteorologists downgraded Cyclone Thane from "very severe" to "severe" once it came over land and began to lose steam. By lunchtime, it had weakened further to a "deep depression" as it moved westward.
Fishermen were advised to stay off rough seas throughout the day and coastal residents had been told to evacuate to higher ground ahead of the storm's arrival.
Many people in largely agricultural and fishing communities along the coast live in thatched-roof huts that could sustain extensive damage, the India Meteorological Department said Friday.
Parts of coastal and inland Tamil Nadu and Puducherry can expect heavy rainfall over the next day, the agency said.
Heavy rain is also forecast for parts of Andhra Pradesh, as well as northern Kerala and southern Karnataka.
CNN's Moni Basu contributed to this report.
Part of complete coverage on
February 6, 2013 -- Updated 1526 GMT (2326 HKT)
Advocates say the exam includes unnecessarily invasive and irrelevant procedures -- like a so-called "two finger" test.
February 6, 2013 -- Updated 0009 GMT (0809 HKT)
Supplies of food, clothing and fuel are running short in Damascus and people are going hungry as the civil war drags on.
February 6, 2013 -- Updated 1801 GMT (0201 HKT)
Supporters of Richard III want a reconstruction of his head to bring a human aspect to a leader portrayed as a murderous villain.
February 5, 2013 -- Updated 1548 GMT (2348 HKT)
Robert Fowler spent 130 days held hostage by the same al Qaeda group that was behind the Algeria massacre. He shares his experience.
February 6, 2013 -- Updated 0507 GMT (1307 HKT)
As "We are the World" plays, a video shows what looks like a nuclear attack on the U.S. Jim Clancy reports on a bizarre video from North Korea.
The relationship is, once again, cold enough to make Obama's much-trumpeted "reset" in Russian-U.S. relations seem thoroughly off the rails.
Ten years on, what do you think the Iraq war has changed in you, and in your country? Send us your thoughts and experiences.
February 5, 2013 -- Updated 1215 GMT (2015 HKT)
Musician Daniela Mercury has sold more than 12 million albums worldwide over a career span of nearly 30 years.
Photojournalist Alison Wright travelled the world to capture its many faces in her latest book, "Face to Face: Portraits of the Human Spirit."
February 6, 2013 -- Updated 0006 GMT (0806 HKT)
Europol claims 380 soccer matches, including top level ones, were fixed - as the scandal widens, CNN's Dan Rivers looks at how it's done.
February 6, 2013 -- Updated 1237 GMT (2037 HKT)
That galaxy far, far away is apparently bigger than first thought. The "Star Wars" franchise will get two spinoff movies, Disney announced.
July 25, 2014 -- Updated 2327 GMT (0727 HKT)
It's an essential part of any trip, an activity we all take part in. Yet almost none of us are any good at it. Souvenir buying is too often an obligatory slog.
Today's five most popular stories