More than 100,000 people were evacuated from their homes today as a tropical storm slammed into southern India from the Bay of Bengal, officials said.

The storm left at least two people dead, including a crew member of an oil tanker that ran aground off Chennai, the capital of Tamil Nadu state, the Press Trust of India news agency said.

Chennai

Rain lashed the region and strong winds uprooted trees in some places. Weather officials said the storm had maximum winds of 75 km/h after making landfall.

A storm surge of up to 1.5 metres was expected to flood low-lying areas of Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh states, the India Meteorological Department said.

It said heavy to very heavy rain was expected over parts of the states during the next 24 hours. Fishermen were asked to stay at shore until Thursday.

An oil tanker with 37 crewmembers ran aground off Chennai, the capital of Tamil Nadu state, PTI  reported. Coast guard officers were evacuating the crew and searching for some whose lifeboat reportedly capsized in the choppy waters, it said. Officials were not immediately available for comment.

One crewmember drowned and coast guard officers were searching for six others whose lifeboat reportedly capsized in the choppy waters as they tried to reach the shore, it said. Officials were not immediately available for comment.

A 46-year old man drowned after he slipped into the sea while walking on a pier as the sea became rough, PTI said.

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Sailors try to hold on to their up-turned lifeboat, as sailors, not pictured, throw lines to them from the ship above, after the lifeboat capsized when Indian ship Pratibha Cauvery, right, ran aground, due to strong winds in the Bay of Bengal coast in Chennai on Wednesday. (Associated Press)

State authorities turned 282 schools into relief centres in Chennai. The city's port halted cargo operations, PTI said. Twenty-three ships were moved to safer areas.

About 150,000 people were moved to shelters in Nellore district in Andhra Pradesh state, district official B. Sridhar said.

Storm kills 2 in Sri Lanka

In Sri Lanka, authorities said two people were killed and thousands displaced due to heavy rain and strong winds from the storm.

Sri Lanka's Disaster Management Center said 4,627 people across the island nation had been displaced by flooding, while 56 were evacuated in the central region because of threats of landslides.

One woman died Tuesday after a tree branch fell on her, while another person was killed in flooding, the agency said. Floods also damaged about 1,000 houses, it said.