Cyclone Ilsa threatens Western Australia with strongest storm in over a decade

Cyclone Ilsa threatens Western Australia with strongest storm in over a decade

Tropical Cyclone Ilsa, the most powerful storm to make landfall off the coast of Western Australia (WA) in over a decade, is intensifying with wind gusts of more than 250 kilometres per hour.

Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) said the cyclone is predicted to make landfall late 13 April or early 14 April somewhere between the towns of Broome and Port Hedland, a major port hub for the export of iron ore.

On 11 April, the Pilbara Ports Authority cleared boats from all berths in the inner harbour of Port of Port Hedland and urged recreational boat owners to secure their vessels.

From 8.00am on 13 April, the authority said all movements of harbour support vessels within the port will need to be approved by the Port of Port Hedland Harbour Master.

As reported by CNN, Darren Klemm, Fire and Emergency Services Commissioner of Western Australia, said it had been 10 years since a Category 4 had hit the WA coast.

Local authorities have warned residents to tie down anything that could become airborne in strong winds, while tourists staying along the portion of coast between Broome and Port Hedland have been told to move from the projected path of the storm.

Cyclones are common on the west coast of Australia, with the Bureau of Meteorology logging seven of them last year. The country uses a five-tier system to gauge the intensity of tropical cyclones, with Category 4 representing those reaching a mean wind speed of between 160 and 199 kilometres per hour – with typical wind gusts of over 225 kilometres per hour.

The strongest storm ever to hit any part of Australia was Tropical Cyclone Monica, which arrived in 2006 with sustained winds around 290 kilometres per hour, as it swept across the eastern and northern part of the country.

In November of last year, major ports across Florida halted operations in anticipation of a Category 1 hurricane Nicole.

More recently, New Zealand’s ports shut down after the country was stifled by Cyclone Gabrielle

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