A severe tropical cyclone yesterday lashed northwestern Australia, bringing the strongest winds the country has ever recorded, but officials said towns and cities appeared to have escaped the worst of the storm.
Tropical Cyclone Ilsa made landfall in the early hours yesterday as a Category 5 storm — the strongest on the scale — near the sparsely populated town of Pardoo, about 19 hours’ drive northeast of Perth.
Images from the scene showed the storm’s destructive power, blasting through walls and tearing off the roof at the Pardoo gasoline station.
The cyclone brought a wind gust of 289kph — believed to be the strongest on record in Australia, said Todd Smith, manager of weather services in the Bureau of Meteorology’s Northern Territory Region.
Ilsa also packed an Australian record for the strongest sustained wind speeds over a 10-minute period — averaging 218kph. The previous record was 194kph, set by Cyclone George in 2007.
“It just shows how strong this system was as it approached the coast,” Smith told reporters.
For the region’s largest towns and settlements it was a narrow escape, and they appear to have escaped major damage, authorities said.
“I’ve been told that early assessments in those areas show damage is fairly minimal,” West Australian Acting Emergency Services Minister Sue Ellery told reporters.
The world’s biggest iron ore-shipping hub reopened yesterday after it was forced to close earlier in the week as the cyclone gathered pace above the Indian Ocean.
The cyclone has since been downgraded to Category 2, but authorities remain wary as it barrels inland toward several remote Aboriginal communities and a major gold mine.
The Department of Fire and Emergency Services issued a new series of “red alerts” as the storm swerved inland yesterday afternoon, ordering people to stay indoors until given the all-clear.
“There are several remote communities and mining operations which are yet to be impacted,” Ellery said.
These included the Aboriginal community of Punmu and the Newcrest gold mine in Telfer.
“It is too early to know the impact of the cyclone as it continues to pass through the area,” Newcrest said in a statement.
Tropical storms typically sputter out quickly once they reach land, but Ilsa was forecast to maintain an unusual intensity as it moved across the vast desert Outback in the coming days.
The northwest coast of Western Australia is the most “cyclone-prone region” in the country, the Bureau of Meteorology said.
It also has “the highest incidence of cyclones in the southern hemisphere.”
The region holds significant deposits of iron ore, copper and gold, and is home to some of Australia’s largest mining operations.
Australian researchers have repeatedly warned that climate change amplifies the risk of natural disasters, such as bushfires, floods and cyclones.
Apps and Web sites that use artificial intelligence (AI) to undress women in photos are soaring in popularity, researchers said. In September alone, 24 million people visited undressing Web sites, the social network analysis company Graphika said. Many of these undressing, or “nudify,” services use popular social networks for marketing, Graphika said. For instance, since the beginning of this year, the number of links advertising undressing apps increased more than 2,400 percent on social media, including on X and Reddit, the researchers said. The services use AI to recreate an image so that the person is nude. Many of the services only
IN ABSOLUTE CONTROL: About 80 percent of Russians approve of Putin, a survey shows, but that might be misleading due to his intolerance to criticism Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday moved to prolong his repressive and unyielding grip on Russia for at least another six years, announcing his candidacy in the presidential election in March that he is all but certain to win. Putin still commands wide support after nearly a quarter-century in power, despite starting an immensely costly war in Ukraine that has taken thousands of his people’s lives, provoked repeated attacks inside Russia — including one on the Kremlin itself — and corroded its aura of invincibility. A short-lived rebellion in June by mercenary leader Yevgeny Prigozhin raised widespread speculation that Putin could be
JUMPING BAIL: The democracy advocate said made the decision after ‘considering the situation in Hong Kong, my personal safety, my physical and mental health’ Hong Kong pro-democracy activist Agnes Chow (周庭), who was jailed over her role in massive 2019 protests, on Sunday said she had moved to Canada and would not return to meet her bail conditions. Chow was one of the best-known young faces of the 2012, 2014 and 2019 protest movements against Beijing’s increasingly authoritarian rule in Hong Kong. She spent about seven months behind bars for her role in a protest outside Hong Kong police headquarters in 2019, when huge crowds rallied week after week in the most serious challenge to China’s rule since Hong Kong’s 1997 handover. On Sunday
TAKING STOCK: It was not yet clear how damaging the espionage, dating to 1981, has been, as authorities are still assessing the situation, the State Department said A former US ambassador to Bolivia has been arrested and charged with spying for Cuba over a 40-year span, the US Department of Justice announced on Monday, detailing a shock betrayal by a suspect who called the US “the enemy.” US Attorney General Merrick Garland laid out the allegations against Victor Manuel Rocha, a onetime member of the White House’s National Security Council now accused of using his positions within the government to support Cuba’s “clandestine intelligence-gathering mission” against the US. The charges against Rocha, 73, expose “one of the highest-reaching and longest-lasting infiltrations of the United States government by a foreign