A really strong cyclone hit Western Australia on Friday with record-breaking wind speeds. It was called Tropical Cyclone Ilsa and was the strongest on the scale, category five. It crossed the coastline near the town of Pardoo, which is sparsely populated. The owners of a petrol station and caravan park in Pardoo said that their business had suffered great damage. However, officials said that major population centres escaped most of the damage.
Emergency services spokesman Peter Sutton said that they received no calls for assistance from larger populated areas. The Bureau of Meteorology said that the cyclone had set a preliminary Australian record for the strongest sustained wind speeds over a 10-minute period. It averaged 218 kilometres per hour with gusts of 288 kilometres per hour. As the cyclone tracked inland, the Department of Fire and Emergency Services issued a new series of “red alerts” ordering people to stay indoors until given the all-clear.
Tropical Cyclone Ilsa gathered strength over the Indian Ocean, forcing Port Hedland to clear all vessels in preparation. Port Hedland is one of the world’s major iron ore-shipping hubs. The region is home to iron ore and gold mines, sprawling cattle ranches and isolated Aboriginal communities.