Deadly Cyclone Nilam pushed an oil tanker in India's Bay of Bengal toward Besant Nagar beach Wednesday and capsized a lifeboat fleeing the ship, officials said.
In Sri Lanka, Nilam was blame for at least a dozen deaths and the displacement of at least 4,000 people because of flooding, the BBC reported.
In India, the storm tossed the lifeboat's 14 passengers into the choppy waters, The Times of India reported. Fishermen rescued six people and eight others climbed back into the lifeboat.
Cyclone Nilam picked up strength as it pushed toward India's Tamil Nadu coast, weather officials said. The cyclone was about 50 miles southeast of Cuddalore and about the same distance south of Chennai.
Wind speeds were expected to reach 68 mph by the time Nilam reaches Chennai, the India Meteorological Department said.
Chennai could receive up to 10 inches of rain over the next 24 hours, forecasters said.
Schools and colleges were canceled and government offices closed in all coastal districts.
© 2012 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
More links on Cyclone
More links on Flooding