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Last Updated: Wednesday, 29 March 2006, 07:50 GMT 08:50 UK
Australia battens hatches again
In this satellite image released by the Bureau of Meteorology of Australia, Tropical Cyclone Glenda is shown off the western coast of Australia, Wednesday, March 29, 2006.
Glenda's effects are expected to be felt sometime on Thursday
Australia is bracing for its second major cyclone in two weeks as a storm with winds of around 280km/h (175mph) headed for its western coast.

Cyclone Glenda was expected to hit north-west Australia's Pilbara coastline late on Thursday.

A major iron ore port on the Pilbara coast has sent its ships out to calmer waters, and the 10,000 residents of the coastline are preparing their houses.

Australia's north-east is still recovering from Cyclone Larry.

That storm, which hit the state of Queensland, caused no fatalities but left a damage bill which is expected to top AU$1bn (US$707m).

A weather forecaster told ABC radio on Wednesday that Cyclone Glenda's current wind speeds were similar to that of Larry's prior to it hitting the coast.

"It is a very large system, one of the strongest cyclones we have seen off our Australian coastline," Gavin Edmonds said.

Getting ready

Australia's bureau of meteorology warned that the storm's effects might be felt even before it hit land.

"Residents of the central and west Pilbara coast are warned of the risk of very destructive winds... during Thursday as this very dangerous cyclone nears the coast," it said in a statement.

Vic Justice, harbour master at the mining community of Dampier, said residents were preparing.

"Everybody's been busy lashing down, tidying up, putting things away and getting ready for the cyclone," he told the Associated Press news agency.

Global mining giant Rio Tinto has halted its iron ore shipping operations on the coast ahead of Glenda, Australia's Daily Telegraph reported.

"At this stage we are in full tie-down at the ports, which means basically we have sent all our ships out to sea and stopped all operations at the port," a Rio Tinto spokeswoman said.

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