Tropical Cyclone Megan is crossing Australia’s northern coast with strong winds, rain

SYDNEY — Tropical Cyclone Megan has made landfall along the coast of Australia’s Northern Territory bringing wind gusts of up to 200 kilometers per hour (124 mph), heavy rain and storm surges in the sparsely populated region.

The cyclone crossed on to Australia’s mainland late Monday near the remote town of Borroloola on the southwestern side of the Gulf of Carpentaria, where it had been lashing island communities for several days.

But the storm weakened as it neared the mainland easing fears of destructive winds and major flooding along a string of remote communities.

A planned evacuation of some 700 residents in Borroloola ahead of the cyclone’s arrival was canceled as Australian Defence Force planes were unable to land due to the storm conditions.

Residents were instead instructed to take shelter at the police station, health facility or other dwellings capable of withstanding the cyclone’s wind gusts.

An evacuation of the McArthur River Mine was also called off due to the conditions.

Almost 600 mm of rain fell at Groote Eylandt over the weekend as the storm moved over remote Gulf of Carpenteria island communities bringing down trees and causing flash flooding.

The wharf for the GEMCO manganese mine on the island was damaged by one of its ships carrying manganese and fuel. Local police said there was no leakage and authorities were working to remove the ship from the wharf.

The cyclone is forecast to continue to track further inland to the southwest on Tuesday before weakening to a tropical low in the morning where it will bring heavy rain and possible flash flooding for parts of the Carpentaria region.

The Australian Bureau of Meteorology said a 24-hourly rainfall total of up to 200 mm and wind gusts of more than 90 kph (56 mph) in the impacted area were likely.

Australia has had several cyclones in recent months. In December, Tropical Cyclone Jasper, the first tropical cyclone of the Australian season — which spans the hot southern hemisphere months of November to April — lashed the northern Queensland state coast.

In January, thousands of people were left without power for days after Tropical Cyclone Kirrily brought wind gusts of up to 170 kilometers an hour (106 miles per hour) which battered coastal cities and towns in the same region.

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