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CYCLONE LAURENCE TORE INTO WESTERN AUSTRALIA

SYDNEY, Australia – Tropical Cyclone Laurence tore into Western Australia overnight, with winds of up to 215 kilometres (133 miles) an hour damaging some buildings but causing no injuries, officials said Tuesday.
The storm had been at the highest rating of Category 5 when it ripped inland onto Eighty Mile Beach late Monday but has since been downgraded to a Category 3 though alerts remain in place for parts of the Kimberley/Pilbara coastline.
  • Western Australia's Fire and Emergency Services Authority said it would conduct an aerial assessment of the remote area via helicopter early Tuesday.
  • "At the moment we're having trouble contacting people in Wallal and Mandora and we just want to make sure that the reports we are currently getting that there is no loss of life or damage to humans is correct," the authority's Les Hayter said.
  • "There is obviously some fairly substantial damage at Eighty Mile (Beach) caravan park which we will be able to see at first light with this crew coming through with the helicopter."
  • Cyclone Laurence is expected to gradually weaken as it moves inland but residents have been warned that destructive winds may continue.
  • "People just need to sit tight, wait for the cyclone to pass, and then watch out for rising rivers and creeks," State Emergency Services spokesman Allen Gale said.
Source: AFP
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