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Cyclone Rusty puts West Australia on ‘red alert’

Wednesday 27 Feb 2013 12:35 p.m.

A satellite image shows Cyclone Rusty over West Australia (Photo: NASA)

A satellite image shows Cyclone Rusty over West Australia (Photo: NASA)

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Mining communities in West Australia have been hit by winds of up to 120km/h as the category three Cyclone Rusty hits areas in the state’s northwest.

Forecasters say the cyclone could have a 100km-wide eye and winds of more than 200kmh by the time it reaches full strength later today.

Residents in Port Hedland have been on red alert since yesterday morning, meaning they should not leave shelter until notified.

The Department of Fire and Emergency Service has told people in the area to “be prepared for the very worst”.

Major flooding is also expected.

"We are talking Noah's Ark here, we really are talking phenomenal amounts of rainfall," Bureau of Meteorology forecaster Andrew Burton said

The cyclone has brought mining in Pilbara to a halt, with ports closed and flights cancelled.

Australia’s east coast is also feeling the effects of Cyclone Rusty.

Gympie, in southeast Queensland, has been flooded for the fourth time in a year after the Mary River broke its banks overnight.

The city’s mayor says the river didn’t rise as quickly as during last month’s major flooding, but still damaged 34 businesses.

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