2 powerful cyclones spinning toward north Australian coast

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Two powerful cyclones are blowing toward Australia's sparsely populated north where around 2,000 people have been evacuated from the east coast of the Northern Territory ahead of strong winds, mountainous waves and flooding rain that are forecast.

Cyclones are frequent in Australia's tropical north and rarely claim lives. But two such large storms as Cyclones Trevor and Veronica crossing land on the same weekend is rare.

Bureau of Meteorology manager Todd Smith said on Friday that Trevor is expected to cross the east shore of the Northern Territory on Saturday morning as a Category 4 storm. It had sustained winds of 130 kilometers per hour (80 mph) with gusts to 185 kph (115) Friday afternoon. Gusts of 275 kph (170 mph) are expected around the eye when the cyclone makes landfall.

The Northern Territory communities nearest the expected landfall were evacuated Thursday, with most of the 2,000 or so residents going to the provincial capital, Darwin.

Veronica is also expected to be a Category 4 when it crosses the coast of Western Australia state over Sunday night. Its sustained winds were 175 kph (110 mph) around midday Friday.

A Category 4 severe tropical cyclone is roughly similar to a Category 2 or 3 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson scale used in the U.S.

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