The eastern coast of peninsular India routinely receives the onslaught of devastating cyclonic storms. We suggest a novel method involving Envisat retrievals followed by application of the European Space Agency's (ESA's) Earth Observation Link Stand-Alone (EOLI-SA) catalogue for the calculation of cloud cover (CC) of tropical storms. In particular, we focus on the northeast monsoon, which is less studied as compared with the more regularly investigated southwest monsoon. We found that the CC was of the order of 946,598 km2 on 23 November 2011. In contrast, we also calculated the CC of tropical cyclone Thane that occurred on 31 December 2011, which was found to be 1,222,224 km2 - an increase of 197.5%. To further increase CC calculation accuracy, Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) retrievals were used simultaneously over both visible and shortwave infrared (SWIR) spectra. The precipitable water levels were analysed using Tool for High-resolution Observation Review (THOR) and Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) retrievals. Envisat data were then used to track Thane's trajectory. These multiple-image analyses are coupled with large-eddy simulation runs - large velocities from sheared eddies were obtained at landfall. The runs were simultaneously performed over two locales on 29 December 2011 - first at Karaikal, where the impact of Thane was severe, and then at Chennai, where the cyclone's fury had become somewhat curtailed. This procedural analysis, coupled with model simulations, can be used effectively by Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) personnel and decision-makers of the municipal corporations of vulnerable cities along coastal Tamil Nadu. © 2013 Copyright 2013 Taylor & Francis.