West Australian coast braces for latest cyclone
The Australian Bureau of Meteorology said Tropical Cyclone Hubert was approaching the isolated, resource-rich region of Pilbara, just days after Cyclone Glenda roared into the area from the Indian Ocean.
Weather forecasters said they expected Hubert to make landfall near the town of Onslow and pass directly over the remote town of Exmouth early Saturday morning.
Hubert, which ranks as a category two storm on a scale of one to five, will be the fourth storm this season to hit the major oil and mining region of Pilbara.
Bureau of Meteorology observer Patrick Wilson said some mining production had again shut down as the latest storm approached.
"They've stopped production and flown staff off their rigs," Wilson told AFP from nearby Learmonth.
"It must be costing them a fortune flying them off and on, but it's something they just have to do," Wilson said. "You can't take these things lightly."
"We get lots of cyclones up this way, so people are pretty good at getting ready and doing the right things. We've had well and truly lots of practice at it this year."
The Pilbara coast region is Australia's main iron-ore producing region and site of major oil and natural-gas reserves. It lies in what is often known as 'cyclone alley' because of the frequency of major storms that sweep in from the Indian Ocean each year.
Cyclone Hubert comes only one week after Cyclone Glenda cut a destructive path across the Pilbara coast and three weeks after a category-five cyclone, Larry, smashed into the country's tropical northeast.
Copyright (c) 2006 Agence France-Presse
Received by NewsEdge Insight: 04/07/2006 01:44:56
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