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Lord Howe Island prepares for cyclone

Thursday March 14, 2013 - 20:14 EDT

Tropical Cyclone Sandra has been upgraded to a category 2 system as it approaches Lord Howe Island off the coast of New South Wales.

Sandra is expected to hit the island from around 8:00pm (AEDT) with winds of up to 150 kilometres per hour.

Island Board chief executive officer Stephen Wills says residents will be prepared for the worst of the weather.

"Tropical cyclones might come down every few years or so, but certainly as a small rock out in the middle of the ocean, the community here's quite used to pretty extreme weather," he said.

"The properties are built to handle this sort of weather, so if we're well prepared we're hopeful that there shouldn't be too much damage and we'll pass through this well."

Mr Wills says there are around 400 guests on the island who are being well looked after.

"While visitors aren't out enjoying some of the tracks of the island, they are certainly being well looked after and well cared for.

"Our key focus is to keep them well informed and keep them safe."

He says supply ship the Island Trader, scheduled to arrive on Saturday, is waiting in Port Macquarie and tracking the cyclone's path.

Emergency resources are on standby to assist on the island but the airport is now closed.

"The SES on the mainland in the Port Macquarie region have resources on standby," Mr Wills said.

"Obviously with the weather as it's probably unlikely any flights would be able to come out of the island, so we're pretty well on our own but we're well prepared and certainly resources on standby if needed."

Meanwhile, another cyclone, , has formed in the Coral Sea off north Queensland.

The Bureau of Meteorology says the cyclone could develop into a category two system but is too far away to affect the Queensland coast for the next few days.


© ABC 2013

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