The Bureau of Meteorology has downgraded Christine to a category 2 tropical cyclone as destructive winds continue moving south through Western Australia’s Pilbara region.
The bureau lifted its cyclone warning for the coastal towns of Onslow and Port Hedland – Australia’s highest tonnage iron ore port – at about noon AEST (9am WST), but state emergency services’ lockdown remains.
As of 11am AEST (8am WST), Cyclone Christine was located 155 kilometres south of Karratha and 135 kilometres north-northwest of Paraburdoo, and moving south at 19 km/h.
“The system is slowly weakening as it moves over central parts of the Pilbara and is currently a Category 2 Cyclone,” the bureau reported, warning of destructive, 130 km/h winds near the cyclone centre.
“Christine has been moving to the south over the last three hours and is expected to take a more south-southeasterly track for the rest of today.”
“Gales with wind gusts to 110 kilometres per hour are occurring in inland parts of the Pilbara between Port Hedland and Onslow and should extend into the eastern Gascoyne, far western Interior and the northern Goldfields before the cyclone weakens overnight.”
Most of Australia’s iron ore exports were halted on Sunday in anticipation of the cyclone, with shipping vessels evacuated from Port Hedland early Sunday morning.
BHP, Fortescue Metals, Atlas Iron and Woodside Petroleum operate in the region.
Here’s the storm as it passed by the Cherratta Lodge in Karratha last night:
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