PORTS and mining operations in the Pilbara resumed yesterday as tropical Cyclone Rusty weakened to a category-1 system.
Port Hedland was spared a direct hit on Wednesday night when Rusty veered east to Pardoo Station, killing cattle, uprooting trees and damaging accommodation buildings, fencing and sheds, The Australian reports.
The cyclone has now eased and moved inland.
More than 500 people who left their homes to shelter in sports stadiums and halls across the Pilbara were beginning to return home yesterday including all 52 residents of the Aboriginal community of Warralong.
Pardoo Station owner Graham Rogers said he suspected hundreds of his 7000 head of Santa Gertrudis cattle had perished in the cold as the massive system moved slowly over the pastoral lease.
"It's sad. I saw four dead in the road this morning but there'll be hundreds more," he said.
"They would have died from hypothermia."
The only other permanent residents of Pardoo are the roadhouse workers and owner Ian Badger.
He had sent his staff to Broome days earlier and sheltered in his shop.
Yesterday he said there was plenty of tidying up to do outside, but no substantial damage.
Households across the state's northwest had been in lockdown for two days since the Department of Fire and Emergency Services issued a red alert.
Destructive wind gusts of up to 120km/h and torrential rain were still expected in the region, the Bureau of Meteorology said.
A small clean-up was under way at Port Hedland, which emerged relatively unscathed.
The port of Port Hedland, which ships about $120m worth of iron ore a day, resumed operations yesterday afternoon.
Read more at The Australian