Australian cyclone crossing Western Australian coast

Feb 27, 2013
A tropical cyclone hit Australia's resource-rich northwest coast Wednesday, bringing winds of up to 165 kilometres (102 miles) an hour as it crossed the shore near the tiny community of Pardoo.

A tropical cyclone hit Australia's resource-rich northwest coast Wednesday, bringing winds of up to 165 kilometres (102 miles) an hour as it crossed the shore near the tiny community of Pardoo.

Severe tropical cyclone Rusty had been sitting offshore for several days, slowly intensifying as it edged towards the Pilbara coast and bringing heavy rain and gale-force winds to the iron ore region.

"It is in the process of crossing," Neil Bennett from Australia's Bureau of Meteorology told AFP just after 0700 GMT, adding it was too soon to say whether it had caused any damage.

"Wind gusts in excess of 165 kilometre an hour are in that area."

Bennett said the had been downgraded from a category 4 storm, just one notch short of the top category, to a category 3.

The bureau had expected Rusty to make close to Port Hedland, 1,300 kilometres (800 miles) north of Perth, but Bennett said the major iron ore port appeared to have escaped the full brunt of the storm.

A NASA satellite image of cyclone Rusty closing in on the northwestern coast of Western Australia, February 26, 2013. A tropical cyclone hit Australia's resource-rich northwest coast Wednesday, bringing winds of up to 165 kilometres (102 miles) an hour as it crossed the shore near the tiny community of Pardoo.

"It looks as if Hedland has dodged the bullet, so to speak, because the worst of the winds are away from Hedland," he said.

"Hedland though has been experiencing a constant period of gale-force winds for over 36 hours now. And that's unprecedented (for that area)."

While the storm has been downgraded, its eye has also contracted from being about 80 kilometres wide on Tuesday to about 50 kilometres by the time it crossed land.

Authorities had warned residents to move out of the storm's path or seek shelter. Resident Ian Badger said he was seeking refuge at the Pardoo Roadhouse, about 120 kilometres from Port Hedland.

"It's just a matter of hanging on," he told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

"The amount of water that's around is a bit worrying. The ground is very sodden, very soft. As soon as you get a get a bit of strong wind, trees start going over."

The weather bureau expects the cyclone to move slowly in a south-southeasterly direction, gradually downgrading to a category 1 storm by Thursday afternoon and a tropical low the following day.

Australia's major iron ore export ports have been shut for several days anticipating Rusty's approach. Hundreds of people have been forced to evacuate their homes in the sparsely populated but cyclone-prone area.

Global giants including BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto and Fortescue Metals Group have all shut down or scaled back operations due to the storm.

Explore further: Plate tectonics: What set the Earth's plates in motion?

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

NASA sees Cyclone Rusty threatening Western Australia

Feb 25, 2013

Tropical Cyclone Rusty formed on Feb. 24 and has already caused warnings up for the residents of northwestern West Australia, including Port Hedland. NASA's Terra satellite saw that outer bands of this quick-forming ...

Recommended for you

NASA sees Tropical Storm Kalmaegi weakening over Vietnam

3 hours ago

Tropical Storm Kalmaegi made landfall on September 17 near the border of Vietnam and China and moved inland. Soon after the landfall as a typhoon, NASA's Terra satellite passed overhead and captured an image ...

NASA air campaigns focus on Arctic climate impacts

4 hours ago

Over the past few decades, average global temperatures have been on the rise, and this warming is happening two to three times faster in the Arctic. As the region's summer comes to a close, NASA is hard at ...

NASA image: Smoke wafts over the Selway Valley in Idaho

5 hours ago

Smoke from the fires in the Selway Complex is wafting into the Selway River valley in this image taken by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) aboard the Terra satellite on September ...

User comments : 0