Storm hits Australia with strong winds and power outages


Strong winds hit Australia's northeast coast Friday, leaving thousands without power, but the area was spared heavy damage as Tropical Cyclone Kirrily weakened into a tropical storm.

Wind gusts of up to 170 kilometers an hour (105.6 miles per hour) battered coastal cities and towns, while fallen trees caused property damage. Weather officials warned of continuing heavy rain and strong winds.

But the cyclone was downgraded Friday to a tropical storm after making landfall in Queensland state Thursday night. There were no reported deaths or serious injuries.

"It was still a significant weather system and brought significant rain into interior Queensland," the Bureau of Meteorology wrote on social media Friday.

A severe weather warning remains for heavy rain with the possibility of damaging winds. Northwest Queensland could get around 200 millimeters (7.87 inches) of rain over the next few days, the Bureau of Meteorology said.

Coastal Queensland is popular with holidaymakers and tourists, but the wild weather caused problems for the Australia Day holiday Friday as a number of campgrounds were forced to close.

Queensland premier Steven Miles warned that the threat was not over. "We're not out of the woods, but we will continue to work to be prepared to support Queensland communities," he said.

It's the second cyclone in as many months to hit the region, after December saw Tropical Cyclone Jasper. Jasper was the first tropical cyclone of the Australian season, which spans the southern hemisphere hot months of November to April.

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