Tens of thousands of people in Western Australia were without power on Monday after a rare tropical cyclone tore roofs from homes and destroyed flimsily built houses as it crossed the coast on Sunday night.
Officials said approximately 70 percent of the structures in the coastal town of Kalbarri, about 500km (310 miles) north of state capital Perth, were damaged when the category three storm made landfall with winds at speeds of as much as 170km/h, reports Al Jazeera.
About 30 percent of the damage was 'significant', WA Emergency Services Commissioner Darren Klemm said that the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. The area had not seen such a cyclone in at least 40 years, local media reported.
“The situation in Western Australia remains very serious,” Prime Minister Scott Morrison posted on his official Facebook page, adding the federal government’s disaster response plan had been activated.
The cyclone, named Seroja, was downgraded to a category two system after making landfall and finally moved back out to sea in the early afternoon, according to the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) in Perth. Showers and gusty winds were expected to continue but not to be severe, it also added.