January 12th, 2012
12:25 AM ET

Cyclone hits northern Australia

Tropical Cyclone Heidi slammed into northwestern Australia as a Category 2 storm early Thursday morning, dousing the region with torrential rain as residents remained on "red alert" over reports of strong winds and flooding, officials said.

The storm system, which prompted several major ports and oil fields to shut down in anticipation of tidal surges, packed gales of up to 145 kilometers per hour (90 mph) as it headed inland, according to Neil Bennett, a spokesman for the country's Bureau of Meteorology.

It has since weakened to a Category 1 storm and continues to lose steam as it moves farther inland, Bennett said.

Several sea ports were shut down ahead of the storm, from Port Hedland - a major iron ore exporting center - down to the more southern terminals at Dampier, according to Steed Farrell, a spokesman for the Port Hedland Port Authority.

"It's in the hands of mother nature," he added.

The agency activated contingency plans, which removed all nonessential personnel from the ports and obliged major vessels to relocate.

Some 3,600 residents in the Port Hedland area were left without power Thursday after the storm rolled through, according to the region's electricity provider, Horizon Power.

The country's largest oil and gas firm, Woodside Petroleum, also closed operations in several offshore oil fields.

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Filed under: Australia • Weather • World
soundoff (3 Responses)
  1. Granny


    January 12, 2012 at 12:43 am | Report abuse |
  2. Gravity7

    Reblogged this on Gravity7.

    January 12, 2012 at 1:54 am | Report abuse |
  3. pozycjonowanie krakow

    Amazing that even as I grow older, my room is the one that takes the abuse. (How can I force the kids to make sure their bedrooms are clean when mom's is the catch-all storage unit of the house) It is the one that takes the hit when rush cleaning is needed elsewhere when guests are coming over... it is sooo awesome when it is finally clean!!

    February 6, 2012 at 8:26 pm | Report abuse |