Cyclone hits northern Australia

February 16th, 2011 - 5:44 pm ICT by IANS  

Melbourne, Feb 16 (IANS) A tropical cyclone Wednesday hit Australia’s northern city of Darwin, prompting authorities to issue evacuation notices and close the airport, a media report said.People have been told to prepare for a huge tidal surge late Wednesday, with dozens of homes already damaged by the cyclone Carlos, a category 1 storm, the Herald Sun reported.

Several homes in Darwin, the capital of Northern Territory state, were already inundated amid widespread power blackouts, while trees were uprooted by the wild weather.

Heavy rain continued to pelt the city as coastal residents were told to prepare their evacuation plans.

Some people in the Darwin suburb of Rapid Creek were evacuated Tuesday night, as swollen creeks damaged roads and caused power outages.

“This high tide, accompanied by possible storm surge, could result in the inundation of low-lying coastal areas such as Rapid Creek, Nightcliff and surrounding suburbs,” a Northern Territory Emergency Service (NTES) spokeswoman said.

According to the report, NTES and Chief Minister Paul Henderson detailed the storm threat Wednesday morning.

Henderson warned Darwin residents to be careful even though it appeared conditions were easing.

Record torrential rain and winds up to 98 kmph brought down power lines, toppled trees and caused widespread flooding, the report said.

Darwin International Airport was closed. Schools and many workplaces were also shut.

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