Powerful Cyclone Rusty nears north-west Australia
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.