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Pattaya Daily News

29 March 2006 :: 13:03:21 pm 33478

Australia Once Again Menaced By Cyclones

Less than 2 weeks after the last cyclone caused widespread damage in Eastern Australia, the West coast is hit by category 5 cyclone.
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A powerful cyclone with winds up to 300 kph (190 mph) menaced northern parts of Western Australia on Wednesday, less than two weeks after a storm devastated homes and crops on the other side of the country. Some oil and gas operations and key iron ore ports closed ahead of the arrival of Cyclone Glenda in an area known as “cyclone alley” because it is regularly swept by storms at this time of year.

The storm, ranked in the most powerful grade for cyclones, category five, was about 335 km (210 miles) north of the town of Port Hedland and moving south along the coast, the Tropical Cyclone Warning Center said.

The remote Pilbara region under threat is home to around 10,000 people and includes Woodside Petroleum’s A$14 billion ($10 billion) North West Shelf liquefied natural gas (LNG) project at Karratha, about 700 km (440 miles) north of Perth.

“Residents of the central and west Pilbara coast are warned of the risk of very destructive winds with gusts exceeding 250 km per hour during Thursday as this very dangerous cyclone nears the coast,” the Bureau of Meteorology declared.

Australia’s northeastern coast was devastated last week by another category five storm, Cyclone Larry. Oil and gas producer Santos Ltd. shut its 40,000-barrel-per-day (bpd) Mutineer-Exeter oil field on Monday and BHP Billiton’s 10,600 bpd Griffin oil field has been closed since Saturday, after it was threatened by a smaller storm.

Mining giants BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto both have operations in the Pilbara, which is home to large deposits of iron ore. Rio said its port operations at Dampier and Cape Lambert had shut and ships had gone out to sea, while BHP said it was loading its last ship and port operations at Port Hedland would close shortly.

Reporter : PDN staff   Photo : Internet   Category : World News

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