Cylcone Trevor causes Australia power outages, set to strengthen


Cairns (Australia) (AFP)

A powerful tropical cyclone that lashed the northeast coast of Australia, closing ports and causing power outages, is expected to strengthen further Wednesday.

Tropical Cyclone Trevor was a category 3 system -- with winds gusting at 165 kilometres (100 miles) per hour -- when it made landfall on the Cape York peninsula Tuesday evening, hitting small isolated communities.

The Bureau of Meteorology said it is now tracking slowly west out to the Gulf of Carpentaria and will intensify to a category 4 system by the weekend before making landfall again.

Queensland energy provider Ergon Energy say they are ready to fly crews in to help restore power with all residents in Lockhart River and Coen now in darkness following the event.

Spokesperson Emma Oliveri told AFP local police have reported multiple lines are down across the region.

"A total of 460 people have lost power and while those numbers may not seem high, every person in the communities of Lockhart River, Coen and close to half of Aurukun are in darkness," she said.

CEO of the Lockhart River Aboriginal Shire, Dave Clarke, said nobody anticipated how severe Trevor would be.

"Everyone needs to stay in their homes because we don't have a designated cyclone shelter and assessments need to be made across our town," he said.

Queensland Fire and Emergency Services Minister Craig Crawford said drones have been used for reconnaissance in remote affected areas.

"We've deployed them a number of times to compare before and after of natural disasters and used the intelligence to assess the damage quickly," he said.

Far North police Chief Supt Brian Huxley told AFP getting help to some locations would be difficult.

"The next difficulty will be getting crews into the airport because crucial equipment has been knocked out, but low-lying cloud cover is making it hard to get crews in to assist with the cleanup and get power restored."