Cyclone Ilsa avoids big towns as storm hits Australia’s northwest coast – National

Australia’s most powerful tropical cyclone in eight years hit the northwest coast on Friday with apparently record high winds of 289 kilometers per hour, but bypassed larger population centers and immediate reports of injuries There was no.

Cyclone Ilsa crossed Western Australia’s Pilbara coast as the most severe Category 5 storm, but weakened to Category 2 as it moved inland, according to the Australian Bureau of Meteorology.

Damage was still being assessed in Ilsa’s path when she landed in the early hours, 150 kilometers northeast of the iron ore exporting town of Port Hedland in the rural area of ​​Pardu.

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Pardoo’s population was 47 at the latest census, and the Pardoo Roadhouse and Tavern were demolished. The two owners remained unharmed throughout the storm, emergency officials said.

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“They had a pretty uncomfortable and challenging night,” said Peter McCarthy, the superintendent of fire and ambulance services.

Outside of Pardoo, Deputy Ambulance Services Minister Sue Ellery explained that damage from the storm was “pretty minimal”.

This image, created from video, shows a woman holding up a poster inviting a community meeting next to a blue warning poster in Broome, Australia on April 12.

Australian Broadcasting Corporation via AP

Fire and Emergency Services Commissioner Darren Clem said the Ilsa had moved from the Indian Ocean to Port Hedland, the world’s largest bulk export port for Australian iron ore, before moving to Pardoo. He said he was relieved. Port Hedland has 16,000 inhabitants and is the largest city in the Pilbara.

Before the storm hit, the city’s docks had been cleared of ships, including iron ore carriers.

Residents of Port Hedland “feel like they dodged a bullet,” says Clemm. “The impact of a Category 5 cyclone in Port Hedland would have caused significant damage.”

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Ilsa appears to have broken the Australian record by recording a gust of 289 kilometers per hour (180 miles per hour) on Bedout Island off the Pilbara before the island’s measuring equipment failed. It is unknown whether it was an equipment failure or a power outage.

“We’ll check the data there, but it’s likely going down as the strongest gust recorded by the Australian station’s equipment,” Smith said.

Category 5 cyclones have average wind speeds over 200 kmph (124 mph) and gusts over 280 kmph (174 mph). The last Category 5 storm to cross the Australian coast was Cyclone Marcia in 2015. Marcia has caused hundreds of millions of dollars in damage to the east coast state of Queensland.

Category 2 storms have maximum average wind speeds of 89 to 117 kph (55 to 73 mph) with gusts of 125 to 164 kph (78 to 102 mph).

According to the Japan Meteorological Agency, the storm will continue to weaken as it moves southeast across land.

© 2023 The Canadian Press

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