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Last Updated: Friday, 31 March 2006, 04:36 GMT 05:36 UK
Relief as Cyclone Glenda passes
In this Satellite image Cyclone Glenda is pictured on March 30, 2006 as it approaches the Australian state of Western Australia.
Glenda was a Category Four storm when it made landfall
Residents on Australia's north-west coast have begun cleaning up after a powerful cyclone battered the area.

There were no reports of injuries or major damage as a result of Cyclone Glenda, and officials expressed relief that the area escaped so lightly.

There were fears the cyclone could have endangered lives as it made landfall with winds of up to 250 km/h (150 mph).

But officials warn there could still be widespread flooding, as much of the area is already sodden with rain.

Cyclone Glenda is the second destructive tropical storm to hit Australia in two weeks.

Minor damage

Officials said the cyclone, which was rated Category Four when it hit the coastal region of Pilbara, had missed major population centres.

The majority of the damage was reported in the town of Onslow, where a power generator was broken, and there was a minor fire in an evacuation centre.

"We haven't had anywhere near the damage expected. It has been really minor like downed trees and downed powerlines," a spokeswoman for Western Australia's Fire and Emergency Services Authority told AFP news agency.

The cyclone has now been downgraded to a Category Two, and Australia's Bureau of Meteorology says it will weaken further as it moves inland.

Pilbara, Australia's main iron ore producing region and site of major oil and natural gas reserves, lies in what is known as "cyclone alley" because of the frequency of major storms.

In February 1995, seven fishermen died when two trawlers sunk off Onslow as a cyclone of similar strength passed close by.

Global mining giant Rio Tinto halted its huge iron ore shipping operation in the region ahead of Glenda's arrival and closed port operations.

Oil firms also moved their floating rigs out of the path of the cyclone.

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