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Tropical cyclone Heidi hits Australian coast

Updated: 2012-01-12 10:57
( Xinhua)

SYDNEY - Tropical Cyclone Heidi has crossed the coast of Western Australia (WA), hitting Port Hedland with heavy rain and strong winds, local media reported on Thursday.

About 2000 homes in and around Port Hedland are without power, some streets have been flooded, according to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) reports.

"Out the front of my house the water is actually over the road, so I'd say 250 millimeters of rain," one resident from South Hedland told the ABC.

The category two cyclone landed in WA's Pilbara region at about 4:30 am local time on Thursday, the Australian Associated Press (AAP) reported.

A red alert remains in place for the areas between Pardoo and Whim Creek, including Port and South Hedland, where authorities are urging residents to stay indoors.

Noel Puzey from the WA Cyclone warning center told Australia's Sky News that Heidi crossed the coast about 10 kilometers to the east of Port Hedland and continued to sweep through the Pilbara region.

He said winds of 130 kilometers an hour as well as 90 millimeters of rain had been recorded before the crossing.

Heidi is expected to weaken as it moves south, Puzey said.

The Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) said earlier a dangerous storm tide was predicted for coastal areas.

Port Hedland's airport and bulk export port have been shut down as the cyclone nears.