Cyclone Ravages Australian Coast

BRISBANE, Australia, March 21 (UPI) — Cyclone Ului’s powerful winds blacked out power to 60,000 homes, Australian officials in Queensland said Sunday.

Still, officials were relieved the Category 3 storm did not do more damage or kill more people, The Australian reported.

The cyclone whipped up more than 150 mph winds and torrential rain along the coast near Proserpine, in the Whitsundays, the report said.

The high seas along Queensland’s southern coast were a reminder of the conditions last Friday in which 19-year-old Queenscliff iron man Saxon Bird died. Bird was killed while competing in the ski leg of the Australian Surf Life Saving championships on the Gold Coast, the Australian said, while lifesaving officials refused to call off the competition.

The Australian Broadcasting Corp. said the cyclone was downgraded to a tropical low as it moved inland.

Queensland Premier Anna Bligh visited Proserpine, north of Mackay, Sunday to assess the damage to homes and businesses in the region.

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