A Renwick man working in a mining camp near Port Hedland in Western Australia is hunkered down during tropical cyclone Rusty, which hit early this morning.
Grant Douglas is living in one of eight camps while he works on FMG's railway line, about 140 kilometres inland from Port Hedland and in the path of the monster cyclone which hit about 2am New Zealand time.
Rusty was initially a category four cyclone, and was downgraded to a category two this morning.
The Australia Bureau of Meteorology said destructive wind gusts up to 125kmh are expected in the area today and urged people to stay indoors.
Mr Douglas contacted the Marlborough Express half an hour before a ''code red'' was issued about 1.30am. A code red meant people should get into shelter immediately, he said.
''There's lots of driving rain and intense wind, it's the wind that's concerning.''
The entire camp was on lockdown in portable rooms, which were ''shaking and rattling'' in the intense winds, he said.
''There won't be much sleep tonight because of the wind.''
When the camp goes into lockdown, there is a distinct feeling of isolation, he said.
''People become vulnerable and in some cases upset, but generally everyone's all good.''
The camp he is working at is called FMG camp 145, not far from Marble Bar, one of the hottest and most remote places on earth, he said.
In early days, cyclone parties were a common way for the camps to spend the time during lockdown, but there is a no-alcohol policy at the camp.
The worst part is the boredom, he said.
His crew had been off work for two days preparing for the slow-moving cyclone, and were expecting to be off for a least another two days waiting for the storm to blow over.
Tropical cyclones were reasonably common in Western Australia, he said.
When severe tropical cyclone George swept through in 2007, it destroyed a nearby camp and killed one person.
The Bureau of Meteorology forecasted about 600 millimetres of rain would fall in the next 24 to 36 hours.
The widespread very heavy rainfall was likely to cause major flooding in the Pilbara area
- The Marlborough Express
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