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Cyclone Sam Lashes Australia Coast

December 8, 2000

PERTH, Australia (AP) _ A powerful cyclone passed over Australia’s remote northwest Friday, prompting warnings of high wind and flooding in small towns. No injuries were reported.

Tropical Cyclone Sam, with winds reaching 174 mph at its center, crossed the coast near the tiny Outback community of Bidyadanga, some 1,000 miles northeast of the Western Australian state capital of Perth.

State emergency services evacuated the Aboriginal community’s residents by helicopter earlier Friday.

Sam is the first major storm of the cyclone season in Australia’s sparsely populated tropical north. The season lasts from about mid-December until February and usually brings several violent storms to towns along the coast.

The Bureau of Meteorology warned that the storm could cause violent seas along the coast and floods inland. The storm was expected to weaken as it moved inland.

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