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Last Updated: Tuesday, 25 April 2006, 04:38 GMT 05:38 UK
Darwin spared by Cyclone Monica
Satellite image of Cyclone Monica over Australia
Cyclone Monica made landfall in the Northern Territories
A tropical cyclone predicted to be one of the worst to hit Australia has been downgraded, bringing relief to the city of Darwin, thought to be in its path.

Cyclone Monica had been expected to hit the city as a category five storm, with winds of up to 350 km/h (220 mph).

But the national weather bureau downgraded it to category two on Tuesday morning, when it lost power after making landfall.

Forecaster Andrew Tupper warned Darwin residents to remain cautious, however.

"It is still a category two cyclone and we are expecting strong wind, so people shouldn't become too complacent," he told the Associated Press.

Monica was still a category five cyclone when it touched down in the remote Aboriginal community of Maningrida, in the Northern Territory, late on Monday night.

A spokeswoman for the Northern Territory Police, Fire and Emergency Services said some parts of the area had been damaged by the storm.

Maningrida "certainly suffered extensive damage to some buildings and structures," she told the Sydney Morning Herald, although no serious injuries have been reported.

Cyclone Monica hit Australia just a month after category five Cyclone Larry tore through the community of Innisfail, about 100 km (60 miles) south of Cairns.

Thousands of homes were destroyed by Cyclone Larry, with a damage bill expected to top A$1bn ($707m, 405m).



SEE ALSO:
Cyclone batters Australian coast
20 Mar 06 |  Asia-Pacific
Australian shares ignore cyclone
20 Mar 06 |  Business
Cyclone Clare hits NW Australia
10 Jan 06 |  Asia-Pacific
Cyclone weakens over Queensland
10 Mar 05 |  Asia-Pacific


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