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Cyclone Marcus: What you need to know at a glance

Sunday March 18, 2018 - 00:15 EDT
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Fallen trees in Darwin's CBD after Tropical Cyclone Marcus passed through. - ABC

Tropical Cyclone Marcus passed over Darwin as a category two system just before midday on Saturday.

Here's what you need to know.

What happened when it hit?

About 10:30am (local time), the Bureau of Meteorology said the cyclone was moving across Darwin.

BOM said there were sustained winds of 95 kilometres an hour near the centre, and the storm was also causing wind gusts of more than 130 kilometres an hour.

Authorities had warned of damaging waves, heavy rain and possible localised flooding.

They said gale-force winds would intensify throughout the day and probably into the evening. Trees have come down and some properties have lost power.

When the cyclone passed over Darwin, authorities said there would be a lull in the weather, but the public should remain in shelter as winds will return at "intensity levels".

"It is not over. You will get the winds coming back," chief officer of Northern Territory Emergency Services Jason Collins said.

By 5:00pm (local time), the category one storm was about 125 kilometres south-west of Darwin, travelling at 21 kilometres per hour, and had been downgraded to a category one system.

A warning zone was in place from Cape Hotham to Mitchell Plateau, including Darwin, while a watch zone was in place from Cockatoo Island to Mitchell Plateau.

The cancelled warning zone covers Cape Hotham to Dundee Beach, including Darwin and Kununurra in WA.

The cyclone moved off the NT coastline between Dundee Beach and Channel Point near the Daly River mouth, into the Timor Sea on Saturday afternoon.

"Tropical Cyclone Marcus is forecast to re-intensity to Category two before approaching the north-east Kimberley during Sunday," the BOM said.

"The tropical cyclone is expected to move off the northwest Kimberley coast during Monday morning and continue moving westwards, into the Indian Ocean."

Gales with gusts to 120 kilometres per hour were occurring along the coast between Dundee Beach and Daly River Mouth on Saturday evening.

Gales could extend further south to Wadeye by early Sunday morning and to the north Kimberley later on Sunday, the BOM said.

Destructive winds with gusts greater than 150 kilometres per hour are expected over the northeast Kimberley coast during Sunday as the centre of Tropical Cyclone Marcus approaches the coast.

What's the advice from authorities in Darwin in the aftermath?

NT Police, Fire, and Emergency Services (NTPFES) was dealing with hundreds of reported incidents, and urged drivers to stay off the roads, which were littered with fallen trees, branches, and downed power lines.

NT Police Regional Controller Warren Jackson gave this advice:

"We're telling everybody they need to be in shelter, out of the weather, off the roads."

He said authorities would provide advice when they believe it's safe to travel.

"Stay inside, don't risk your life," Mr Jackson said.

Residents have been told to activate their household plans to ensure their family and friends stay safe. Businesses have also been urged to reconsider opening.

Risks will also remain after the wind has died down.

"After the storm and after the cyclone, please stay away from waterways and stay away from the beaches," Mr Collins said.

He said residents should also be aware of fallen power lines and other debris; all fallen power lines should be treated as live.

Emergency services will only be responding to life-threatening situations during the cyclone. Crews won't be able to respond to power outages until it's safe.

The airport and Royal Darwin Hospital were the first priority for crews clearing debris, authorities said.

What's the best way to keep up to date?

The Darwin Tropical Cyclone Warning Centre is issuing hourly updates on the cyclone as it moves southwest away from Darwin. .


© ABC 2018

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