Tropical Cyclone Blanche Prompts Alerts in Northern Australia

A couple walk through the rain along West Esplanade past an empty seat overlooking Sydney Harbour in the suburb of Manly on the city's North Shore Wednesday, May 14, 2003.

Photographer: Will Burgess/Bloomberg

Tropical Cyclone Blanche formed off Australia’s north coast near Darwin Sunday, with winds gusting to 95 kilometers (60 miles) an hour and forecast to intensify.

Authorities suspended public transport in Darwin and warned people in the city and other parts of the Northern Territory to take shelter from the Category 1 storm. The cyclone is moving southwest at 12 kilometers an hour and is forecast to cross the north Kimberley coast later on Monday as a Category 2 system, according to the Bureau of Meteorology.

“If floodwaters are encroaching on to roads, do not attempt to cross them,” Brent Warren, Northern Territory regional control commander, said in a statement. “We also ask boaters to stay off the water in these rough conditions.” 

Heavy rain and squalls are likely to continue over the western Top End and extend to the Kimberley region Sunday night or Monday, the bureau said.

Darwin Airport is continuing normal operations, however travelers are advised to check with airlines before heading to the airport.

The Department of Fire and Emergency Services issued a Blue Alert -- which requires people to prepare for dangerous weather -- covering the Western Australia and Northern Territory border to Kuri Bay in the Kimberley.

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