At least six persons died in separate incidents across coastal and central Karnataka due to heavy rains and gusty winds triggered by Cyclone Tauktae over the last 24 hours, an official said on Sunday. "Four isolated incidents occurred since late Saturday in Uttara Kannada, Udupi, Chikkamagaluru and Shivamogga districts, as heavy rains induced by the cyclone lashed the state," Karnataka State Natural Disaster Monitoring Centre (KSNDMC) head Sunil Gavaskar said.
Of the six who perished in the rain-related incidents, two drowned when their tugboat capsized on the high seas in Dakshina Kannada district.
"Out of eight persons in the marine vessel, two drowned and three swam to the shore, while three are missing. Search is on to trace and rescue them," state Revenue Minister R. Ashoka said in a statement here.
Strong winds and high tides in the Arabian Sea were hampering the rescue operation by the National Disaster Rescue Force (NDRF).
"Weather permitting, we will fly a helicopter to locate the 3 missing in the sea and airlift them to the shore at the earliest," Ashoka said.
In the other incident, a fisherman died near Karwar in Uttar Kannada, as he was towing his boat to the shore when another boat floating in the sea crashed on him from behind due to strong winds and heavy rains.
In the second incident, a farmer was electrocuted in his farmland near Udupi when he came in contact with a live wire which fell in his field due to gusty winds.
In the third, a middle-aged man died in Chikkamagaluru district when the tiled-roof house in which he was sleeping collapsed due to heavy rains, while a person died due to lightning in Shivamogga district while he was taking shelter during the rain.
Moderate to heavy rains and gusty winds caused sea erosion along the west coastline and inundated low-laying areas in the affected districts.
In a related development, nine persons were stranded when a Coromandel tug got stuck near Mulki rocks abutting the seashore in Udupi district.
"We have asked the Indian Coast Guard to rescue the stranded sailors," said Ashoka.
As the cyclone intensified and moved northwest towards Goa and Maharashtra, heavy rains and high tidal waves lashed the coastal districts in the southern state.
The districts affected by the cyclone are Dakshina Kannada, Kodagu, Udupi and Uttara Kannada on the coast and Chikkamagaluru, Hassan and Shivamogga in the Western Ghats.
"We have evacuated 516 people from the affected areas and sheltered 253 of them in 10 relief camps set up in the 6 districts. Over 200 houses were damaged. About 3,000 electrical lines have been damaged in 98 villagers across 20 taluks," said KSNDMC Commissioner Manoj Rajan in a statement.
According to the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD), 240 mm rainfall was recorded at Kollur in Udupi; 190mm each at Kota in Udupi, Puttur in Dakshina Kannada and Hosanagar in Shivamogga distict; 170mm at Kundapur in Udupi and Bhagamandal in Kodagu, and 160mm at Bhatka in Uttar Kannada district.
"As a fallout of the cyclone, heavy rains and thunderstorms are forecast in the coastal districts and many parts of south interior and north interior regions of the state over the next 48 hours," said the IMD in its weather bulletin.
Fishermen have been warned against venturing into the sea due to gale wind speed reaching 70-80kmph and high tidal waves along and off the west coast.
(With IANS inputs)