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Powerful Cyclone Rusty nears north-west Australia

Published on Feb 26, 2013 4:43 PM
 
This handout image received from the Nasa Earth Observatory taken on Feb 25, 2013, and obtained on Feb 26, 2013, shows a Nasa satellite captured image of Cyclone Rusty closing in on the north-western coast of Western Australia. Authorities in north-west Australia on Tuesday, Feb 26, 2013, urged residents to evacuate as a powerful cyclone whipped up huge seas and the weather bureau warned of phenomenal rainfall and hurricane-force winds. -- PHOTO: AFP/NASA

SYDNEY (AFP) - Authorities in north-west Australia on Tuesday urged residents to evacuate as a powerful cyclone whipped up huge seas and the weather bureau warned of "phenomenal rainfall" and hurricane-force winds.

Wild weather was pounding the north of Western Australia as tropical cyclone Rusty, upgraded to a severe category three storm, neared the coast and a second low-pressure system formed in the Indian Ocean.

Australia's major iron ore export ports were shut as Rusty approached and authorities ordered evacuations in the sparsely-populated region, which is frequently battered by cyclones in the warmer months.

"There is a possible threat to lives and homes as a cyclone is approaching the area. You need to take action and get ready to shelter from a cyclone," Western Australia's department of fire and emergency services said.

 
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