Cyclone Christine uproots trees, causes power outages in Australia

Dec. 31, 2013 at 7:17 AM   |   0 comments

PORT HEDLAND, Australia, Dec. 31 (UPI) -- Several thousand people were without electricity Tuesday after cyclone Christine struck Western Australia's Pilbara coast near Whim Creek, officials said.

The Category 3 storm battered the communities between Port Hedland and Karratha with wind gusts as high as 124 mph, the Australian Broadcasting Corp. reported.

The storm caused the worst damage in Wickham, where roofs were damaged and trees were uprooted. One tree fell on a house, trapping a family inside, said Rick Mills of the Department of Fire and Emergency Services.

A red alert issued ahead of the storm was lifted in the area, though emergency officials warned residents to be vigilant despite the fact the cyclone was downgraded to Category 1.

"It is important that the people are aware it's not all over," said Chris Arnol of the Department of Fire and Emergency Services. "They'll be out there where there are dangers -- entering storm drains for example, or there is infrastructure that isn't in a safe condition, and of course there is the flooding that's inevitably going to come, so that flood risk is ever present."

A red alert remains in place for the inland towns of Tom Price and Paraburdoo, ABC reported. Neil Bennett, of the Bureau of Meteorology, said the storm would continue to weaken as it moved inland.

"That's going to continue to weaken, and probably eventually being downgraded to below cyclone status early on New Year's Day," he said.

Topics: Tom Price
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