Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Powerful cyclone bears down on western Australia

Space Daily via AFP: A powerful cyclone packing expected winds of more than 200 kilometres an hour was threatening Australia's west coast Monday, forcing towns into lockdown and shutting iron ore operations.

A red alert was issued for Port Hedland and South Hedland on Western Australia state's resource-rich but sparsely-populated Pilbara coast as the category three cyclone intensified offshore, forcing residents to batten down.

"This is a powerful system," Neil Bennett, a spokesman for the Cyclone Warning Centre in Perth told AFP, saying that winds were already building around Port Hedland to about 70 kilometres an hour (45 miles per hour). "Right around the eye (of the storm) we could see gusts of 200 kilometres (120 mph) or more."

Cyclone Christine is set to make landfall between Karratha and Port Hedland at about midnight Monday (1300 GMT) and authorities are warning of damaging storm surges, particularly if it hits at high tide....

Cyclone Christine on December 28, 2013, shot by NASA

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