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Messages to U.S. Citizens

Dear U.S. Citizens:

We bring this message to your attention so you can carefully consider the information it contains.  Please pass along the information below to the U.S. citizens in your area.  This message expires on January 2, 2012. Thank you for your cooperation.

This emergency message is being issued to alert U.S. citizens residing and traveling in southern India that the U.S. Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC) has issued warnings for a tropical cyclone system that as of December 28, 2011, at 8:30 am, local India time, is located 300 nautical miles (550 kilometers) east of Chennai.

Tropical Cyclone Thane is likely to move west-northwestwards slowly, intensifying into a severe cyclonic storm during the next 24 hours and crossing the north Tamil Nadu and south Andhra Pradesh coasts between Cuddalore and Nellore around the morning of December 30, 2011, according to the Regional Specialized Meteorological Centre (RSMC) in New Delhi, India.  Heavy rainfall is likely over north Tamil Nadu & Puducherry (Pondicherry) and south coastal Andhra Pradesh from December 29, 2011. Squally winds with speeds reaching 28-35 mph (45-55 kph) are expected along and off north Tamil Nadu, Puducherry and south Andhra Pradesh coasts from December 29, 2011.  Sea conditions will be high to very high around the system centre and rough to very rough along and off north Tamil Nadu, Puducherry and south Andhra Pradesh coasts.

Current JTWCprojections estimate that landfall will occur near Chennai around 11 am, local India time, on December 30, 2011. The Hyderabad Meteorological Centre indicates it is expecting landfall to occur in Nellore in the coastal Andhra region on December 30, 2011.

The JTWC reports that Tropical Cyclone Thane is moving westward at approximately 11 miles (18 kilometers) per hour.  The maximum wave height is 20 feet (6 meters) with wind speeds of 70 mph (112 kph) gusting to 85 mph (137 kph).  JTWC predicts Tropical Cyclone Thane to reach maximum intensity before 8:30 am, local India time, on Thursday, December 29, 2011, and then weaken while moving over open water before making landfall. 

The Government of India has posted a warning at: http://www.imd.gov.in/section/nhac/dynamic/cwind.htm

Storm surge one meter above the astronomical tide may inundate the low lying areas in the districts between Nellore in Andhra Pradesh and Cuddalore in Tamil Nadu at the time of landfall, including the Nellore & Prakasam districts of Andhra Pradesh, Tiruvallur, Chennai & Kanchipuram districts of Tamil Nadu, and Puducherry.  There may be extensive damage to thatched roofs and huts, minor damage to power and communication lines due to uprooting of large avenue trees, and flooding of escape routes.  Fishermen are advised not to venture into the sea. Coastal hutment dwellers are advised to move to safer places and people in affected areas should remain indoors.

Government of Tamil Nadu airports, port, and state government officials report that they are monitoring the storm.  Their efforts at this point have been focused on getting the word out to fishermen to return to port, contacting administrators in potentially affected regions to prepare for eventualities including storm shelters.  Although they do not see, at this point, any unusual danger to Tamil Nadu beyond the usual hazards of vigorous rain and winds, they are mindful of localized flooding as well as the danger of electrocution from downed power lines.

In Andhra Pradesh, the Hyderabad Meteorological Centre predicts that there will be heavy rainfall from December 29, 2011, in the Nellore, Prakasham, Chitoor, Cuddapah, Krishna and Guntur regions. The Hyderabad Meteorological Centre web site has information posted, which is updated periodically. U.S. citizens in may visit the site for guidance regarding Andhra Pradesh and may also contact the Met Centre at +91-40-2790-8509 for weather updates.  

The U.S. Consulates will continue to monitor Tropical Cyclone Thane’s track, and will issue updated messages, if needed.  U.S. citizens are urged to identify shelter in case of severe conditions, monitor media reports, and follow all official instructions.  Please be alert to flooding and downed electrical wires, and secure loose objects around residences when possible.  U.S. citizens should carry their travel documents at all times (i.e. U.S. Passport, Birth Certificate, picture IDs, etc.) or secure them in safe, waterproof locations. We also suggest that U.S. citizens contact friends and family in the United States with updates about their whereabouts.

Please continue to monitor the Consulates’ websites for updated information.  For Chennai, http://chennai.usconsulate.gov, and for Hyderabad, http://hyderabad.usconsulate.gov. Updated information can also be found on these websites: Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC) at http://www.usno.navy.mil/JTWC/ and Global Disaster Alert and Coordination System (GDACS) at www.gdacs.org.

Additional information on hurricanes and storm preparedness may be found on our “Hurricane/Typhoon Season” webpage (http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/cis_pa_tw_2915.html), and on the “Natural Disasters” page of the Bureau of Consular Affairs website.

U.S. citizens living or traveling abroad are encouraged to enroll with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate through the State Department's travel website so that they can obtain updated information on travel and security.  U.S. citizens without Internet access may enroll directly with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate.  By enrolling, U.S. citizens make it easier for the Embassy or Consulate to contact them in case of emergency.  For additional information, please refer to "A Safe Trip Abroad".

For the latest security information, U.S. citizens traveling abroad should regularly monitor the Department's Internet website where the Worldwide Caution and current Travel Warnings and Travel Alerts can be found.  Up-to-date information on security can also be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll free in the United States and Canada or, for callers outside the United States and Canada, a regular toll line at 1-202-501-4444.  These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).  U.S. citizens are also encouraged to read the Country Specific Information for India.

U.S. citizens with questions or concerns may contact the American Citizens Services Unit of the Embassy or the Consulates General for further information: