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path of destruction: the Bureau's tracking map of Cyclone George / Photo: Bureau of Meteorology
March 14, 2007
The Bureau of Meteorology has described Tropical Cyclone George, which wreaked havoc on West Australia's Pilbara region last week, killing three people, as the most destructive in the region since 1975.
In a statement analysing the cyclone's activity since it crossed the WA coast at 10 o'clock last Thursday night, meteorologists said George was both very intense and physically large.
"During the event, gales were reported on or near the coast as far north as the Northern Territory border on Sunday 4 March as the cyclone moved across from the NT, and as far west as Karratha on Thursday 8 March," the weather bureau said.
"The cyclone intensified to a Category 4 system as it approached the coast, but post-analysis may indicate intensity of Category 5 at landfall."
Gusts of up to 154 kilometres per hour were recorded at Port Hedland Airport before the equipment failed, but it's believed the winds were much stronger around midnight that night, on the edge of the cyclone's core.
ADF offers assistance to battered PilbaraThe Defence Force has offered to help with relief operations in the Pilbara, after the battering the region has taken from cyclone George.
After crossing Australia's Northern Territory and triggering floods, Cyclone George skimmed along the Australian coast, steadily gaining power. By the time the storm took a sharp turn towards shore and headed towards Port Hedland in northern Western Australia on March 8, 2007, the cyclone packed sustained winds of 200 kilometers per hour (127 miles per hour, 110 knots) with gusts to 250 km/hr (155 mph, 135 knots).
The MODIS on NASA's Terra satellite captured this image shown above on March 8, at 10:55 a.m., local time (1:55 UTC). Though the storm lacks a distinct eye, the dense concentration of swirling clouds attests to the storm's power. The storm has a very distinct edge, which contrasts with the reddish land beneath it.