Cyclone crosses remote Australian coast near evacuated island

Reuters News
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Posted: Mar 23, 2015 8:35 PM

SYDNEY (Reuters) - Tropical Cyclone Nathan smashed into northern Australia on Tuesday bringing gale-force winds and heavy rainfall to one of the country's most remote regions.

There were no immediate reports of injuries as the storm swept across Goulburn Island 300 km (185 miles) northeast of Darwin, where all 427 residents had been evacuated on Monday, according to emergency officials.

Meteorologists said Nathan was losing strength after carrying winds of up to 120 kph (75 mph) an hour. It was still expected to bring heavy rain and strong wind gusts as far away as Darwin within the next 48 hours.

Sparsely populated and with little in the way of industry, Goulburn Island is comprised largely of marshlands harboring an abundance of wildlife including crocodiles, fish, dugong, and turtles.

Nathan crossed the eastern Australia coast on Friday before weakening over land, only to regain much of its punch as it crossed over the tropical waters of the Gulf of Carpentaria in the Northern Territory.

(Reporting by James Regan; Editing by Paul Tait)