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Cyclone Grant heads for Aussie Outback

MINJILANG, Australia, Dec. 25 (UPI) -- Tropical Cyclone Grant was expected to roll across a sparsely populated swath of Australia's Outback after making landfall Sunday, forecasters said.

Grant, which is the equivalent of an Atlantic tropical storm, strengthened to a Category 2 storm Sunday as it approached the Northern Territory and was expected to weaken while over land in the next few days, AccuWeather said.

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Australian officials said Grant was packing heavy rain and winds up to 130 kilometers per hour (81 miles per hour) but had not caused any major damage as it blew through the Croker Islands.

"Minjilang on Croker Islands is taking the brunt of the storm," Peter Davie, director of emergency services for the Bureau of Meteorology told the Australian Broadcasting Corp. "There are trees down with significant damage to roads, the power is off and obviously a lot of people in cyclone shelters."

Police told the ABC that Minjilang had been battered but there appeared to be no significant structural damage to the community.

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