Australia Iron Ore Nabe braces for the strongest cyclone in a decade Ship’s crew


By Renju Jose

SYDNEY, April 13 (Reuters) – Australia’s north-western region, home of the world’s largest iron ore export hub, braced itself for the region’s strongest tropical cyclone in a decade on Thursday as a major port closed and residents rushed to get settled stock up on essential supplies.

Cyclone Ilsa, about 155 km off the Australian coast in the Indian Ocean, was upgraded to Category 5, the highest rating, on Thursday afternoon.

The storm is expected to make landfall in the core late Thursday or early Friday with winds up to 315 km/h (196 mph), the Bureau of Meteorology said.

“They have a lot of power in them, the ability not only to destroy trees and bring down power lines, but also to lift these loose objects in the yard, including trailers and trailers,” meteorologist Miriam Bradbury told ABC Television.

The Weather Bureau said in its latest update that Ilsa could affect a 600km sparsely populated stretch from north of Port Hedland east to south of the tourist town of Broome.

The Port of Hedland, the world’s largest iron ore export point, was closed Thursday morning after the Port Authority began clearing berths One day earlier.

The port is used by billionaire Gina Rinehart’s BHP Group, Fortescue and Hancock Prospecting. Rio Tinto exports from the port of Dampier, west of Port Hedland.

The weather bureau issued a red alert for Port Hedland on Thursday afternoon, where wind gusts of up to 155 km/h are expected.

The 15,000 residents, most of whom are mining company employees, have been advised to shelter indoors, away from doors and windows.

It will be the strongest system to hit the country’s northwestern region since Cyclone Christine crossed the coast in December 2013, Weather Bureau forecaster Jessica Lingard said.

BHP said it is following the cyclone closely but its mining and rail operations will continue.

A Fortescue spokesman said it has suspended shipping operations and non-essential travel to the port, but does not expect any major impact on operations at this time.

Many of the region’s mines are hundreds of kilometers inland.

Some supermarket shelves have been cleared, local media reported, and essential supplies such as bottled water, fruit and meat are in high demand.

The storm is expected to weaken below tropical cyclone strength on Friday night as it moves inland.

(Reporting by Renju Jose and Lewis Jackson in Sydney; Editing by Tom Hogue, Jamie Freed and Kim Coghill)

(c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2023.

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