Cyclone Seroja sweeps through western Australian towns

Officials inspect a road damaged by Cyclone Seroja in Dili, East Timor, April 6. The tropical storm, which has killed more than 200 people there and in Indonesia, causes widespread damage in Western Australia. – EPA pic, April 12, 2021.

TWO small Western Australian towns suffered “widespread damage” when Cyclone Seroja struck part of the country that rarely experiences tropical storms, emergency services said today.

The storm, which devastated parts of Indonesia and East Timor last week, brought lashing rain and winds of up to 170km per hour to areas officials said had not seen a tropical cyclone in “decades”.

Public broadcaster ABC reported 70% of structures in Kalbarri – home to about 1,500 people – had been damaged.

Local media images showed homes with their roofs ripped off and debris scattered across streets.

In Northampton, a town of less than 1,000 people about an hour’s drive south, there was also “widespread damage”, Western Australia’s emergency services department said.

“Crews are still assessing the damage and it is not currently safe to go outside because of hazards,” a spokeswoman told AFP.

There were no reports of injuries or deaths overnight, she added.

Cyclone Seroja made landfall as a category 3 storm late yesterday, before crossing the continent’s southwest and being downgraded to a tropical low this morning.

Tens of thousands of homes in Western Australia’s Mid-West region were left without power and a historic mile-long jetty in the town of Carnarvon was also destroyed.

The Bureau of Meteorology said it was the first cyclone to hit some affected areas since 1956.

Cyclone Seroja last week left more than 200 people dead in Indonesia and neighbouring East Timor, while thousands more were forced to flee their homes. – AFP, April 12, 2021.

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