Cyclone Ilsa heads inland after slamming Australian coast

Sydney, Australia, Apr 14 (EFE).- Tropical Cyclone Ilsa slammed into the northwest coast of Australia overnight as a maximum category five storm, causing material damage, and was downgraded early Friday as it moved into the interior of the country, authorities reported.

Off the coast, the storm reached sustained winds of 218 kilometers per hour, which could be a record if confirmed, and made landfall just before midnight (16:00 GMT) on Thursday as a maximum-strength tropical cyclone. It was downgraded to category three at around 4 am on Friday.

“Severe Tropical Cyclone Ilsa, category 3, is weakening as it moves further inland,” the Bureau of Meteorology reported Friday morning.

“During today Ilsa is expected to continue moving east southeast and maintain tropical cyclone intensity as it tracks past Telfer and further inland across the northern parts of the Interior.

“Ilsa is then expected to weaken below tropical cyclone strength overnight tonight as it moves into southern parts of the Northern Territory.”

Urban centers such as Port Headland, with about 4,250 residents, have not suffered significant impact from the passage of Ilsa, although the emblematic Pardoo Roadhouse and Tavern reported on Facebook that it suffered “great damage.”

“We are all still a bit shaken and emotional to see the damage from Cyclone Ilsa. She may have wiped us out, but she can’t take away our spirit,” it said alongside photos showing the venue with its roof ripped off and major destruction inside.

However, Department of Fire and Emergency Services duty chief superintendent Peter Sutton told public broadcaster ABC that “there are no reports of injury to people and all critical infrastructure as far as we’re aware doesn’t have any damage, including power.”

As residents of Australia’s northwest coast emerged from their shelters Friday to assess the damage and clean up, the cyclone was moving inland with strong winds and heavy rain through several Aboriginal communities in the remote Pilbara area.

The Australian authorities activated the yellow alert on Wednesday in the northwest of the country, where in 2007 the category five Cyclone George hit Port Hedland.

Such powerful cyclones are not common in Australia, although once in a while one strikes the north of the Oceanian country, such as category five Cyclone Yasi, which swept through the northeastern state of Queensland in February 2011, killing one and leaving extensive damage. EFE


Related Articles

Back to top button