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Lord Howe Island cleans up after Cyclone Sandra

By Emma Siossian, Friday March 15, 2013 - 14:04 EDT

Residents on the tiny Lord Howe Island are cleaning up the damage caused by Tropical Cyclone Sandra.

Last night the system came within 220 kilometres of the small island, which is located 600 kilometres due east of the New South Wales town of Port Macquarie.

At that stage the cyclone was off the island's east coast and was listed as a category 2 system, but it has since been downgraded to category 1 and continues to weaken as it heads south away from Lord Howe.

Wind gusts reached 150 kilometres per hour on the island at the height of the storm, and destructive winds and heavy ocean swells are expected to continue until this evening.

The chief executive of the Lord Howe Island Board, which administers the island as part of NSW, says locals were well prepared and have faced severe storms before.

CEO Stephen Wills says the damage caused by Tropical Cyclone Sandra is not as severe as expected.

"Some very, very wild weather conditions and very large seas generated by the storm. We only received just over 50 millimetres of rain, so no problems with flooding which was one of our major concerns," he said.

"We received a number of calls for trees down and minor structural damage and debris on roads, but we had crews clearing some of that damage out during the evening and no major damage and no injuries reported, so we are very pleased."

The NSW State Emergency Service has a crew on standby if they are needed to help with the clean up.

A tourism operator on the island, Dani Rourke, says the storm last night was extremely loud.

"It started getting wild about 3 o'clock yesterday afternoon and it was raining and it was windy by last night there were gusts up to 150km," she said.

"So there was plenty of noise, sounded like a freight train and there was plenty of stuff coming down from the trees onto the roof and it's a big mess this morning."


- ABC

© ABC 2013

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