Cyclone Heidi pounds Australia's west coast
Jan 11, 2012, 22:06 GMT
Sydney - Tropical Cyclone Heidi crossed Australia's west coast Thursday, bringing high winds, torrential rain and a warning from weather forecasters of 'rapid and powerful flooding' in the commercially crucial mining region.
'We're certainly feeling the full brunt of Cyclone Heidi as she crosses the coast,' Port Hedland Mayor Kelly Howlett told Nine Network television. 'We've certainly got wind gusts of about 140 kilometres per hour and very heavy rain.'
Port Hedland, one of the world's largest bulk terminals, closed down ahead of Heidi's arrival as did nearby mining and oil and gas operations.
Big ships have been sent out to sea for fear the gales could cause them to break their mooring and crash into Port Hedland harbour.
The sparsely-populated west coast receives around five tropical cyclones over an average cyclone season.