Tropical Cyclone Thane will strike southeastern India bringing damaging winds, flooding rain and inundating storm tides beginning late Thursday.
The likely landfall will happen early Friday, local time, on the Tamil Nadu coast south of Chennai.
Fishermen have been urged not to venture forth, or to return to port, according to the India Meteorological Department (IMD). Those people living in vulnerable dwellings have been advised to find safer shelter.
A storm tide about 1 meter above normal, with some inundation of low-lying areas, was forecast.
The strengthening storm packed highest sustained winds of 75 knots, or 85 mph, the Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC) advised on Wednesday. Located within 250 miles east-southeast of Chennai, Thane was heading westward at 8 mph, the JTWC said.
The JTWC and IMD both forecast further strengthening of Thane, already equivalent to a Category 1 hurricane, before the storm's landfall.
IMD warning, 7:30pm
Very Severe Cyclonic Storm 'THANE' over southwest Bay of Bengal:-Cyclone Warning for north Tamilnadu and south Andhra Pradesh coast : Orange Message.
The severe cyclonic storm 'THANE' over southwest Bay of Bengal moved further westward, intensified into a very severe cyclonic storm and lay centered at 1730 hrs IST of today, the 28th December 2011 near latitude 12.50N and longitude 84.50E, about 450 km east-southeast of Chennai (Tamilnadu), 550 km northeast of Trincomalee (Srilanka) and 900 km west-northwest of Port Blair (Andaman & Nicobar Island). The system is likely to move west-westwards, intensify further during next 12 hrs and cross north Tamil Nadu coast between Nagapattinam and Chennai, close to Puducherry around morning of 30th December 2011. However, as the cyclonic storm will come further close to coast after 24 hours, there is probability of slight weakening before landfall.
Chennai wind speeds above 0.3km height above sea level has picked up considerably, clocking up to 65 km/Hr. Soon ground winds will also pick-up strength.
"Thane" deepening astoundingly, and is a very severe cyclonic storm (IMD terminology) with a core pressure of 980 mb and surface winds roaring at 120 kmph, gusting to 140 kmph !Cat. 1 as per international standards.
Now, tonite, in the next 12 hrs, there will be further intensification, with the pressure dropping further and winds raging to 140 kmph by tomorrow.
I would put up a special alert for the entire coast from Puducherry upto Coastal A.P.
Very intense convection resultant clouds are observed west of the storm right upto the centre. Cloud tops are very high and temperatures are at -86c.
The pressure started droping from mid day today, Wednesday, and bottomed to 980 mb by 8.30 pm IST.
Chennai alert for high winds and gales from tonite.Cloudiness starts increasing rapidly, and coastal waves will be lashing at 22 feet.