Cyclone Ilsa: Western Australia braces for category 4 storm – Capital Radio Malawi
13 June, 2024

Cyclone Ilsa: Western Australia braces for category 4 storm

Western Australia is bracing for the arrival of a major storm which could bring “very destructive” winds of up to 275 km/h (170 mph).

Tropical Cyclone Ilsa is predicted to strike some 500 kilometres (310 miles) west of Broome.

Food and fuel have been delivered to remote areas, and people have been advised to stock up on water.

The category four storm could be region’s strongest in almost 10 years, authorities say.

A yellow alert, which orders people to be ready to shelter, has been issued for several remote towns including Port Hedland, a town of 15,000 which is the world’s biggest iron ore exporting port.

Port Hedland mayor Peter Carter said evacuation centres have been set up in the town.

“Everyone is on edge,” Carter told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. “They understand that cyclones are what they are. They’re very, very unpredictable.”

Some 700 residents from the remote community of Bidyadanga were being evacuated, the fire service said.

Remote communities are being evacuated

Winds in Ilsa’s “very destructive core” could gust up to 275 km/h on Thursday night into Friday morning local time, before the storm moves inland, according to Australia’s Bureau Of Meteorology (BOM).

The BOM also warned of up to 400mm of rain and abnormally high tides, with the storm’s impact felt across a 600km region from Port Hedland to just south of Broome.

Port Hedland, which is used by iron ore producers BHP Group, Fortescue and billionaire Gina Rinehart’s Hancock Prospecting, may escape the worst, the BOM said, but the town could still see gusts of up to 155 km/h.

Iron ore carrying ships were reportedly being moved from Port Hedland harbour. BHP told Reuters it was closely monitoring the situation, but its mining and rail operations were continuing.

Ilsa is set to be the strongest storm to hit Australia’s north west since Cyclone Christine in December 2013.

The last category four storm to make landfall anywhere in the country was Cyclone Trevor, which hit the Northern Territory and Queensland in 2019.

In April 2021, category three Cyclone Seroja hit WA’s west coast with gusts of up to 170km/h, damaging houses, and toppling trees and power lines.

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