Western Australia

Cyclone Ilsa: Powerful storm hits Western Australia

Severe Tropical Cyclone Ilsa crossed the coast near Port Hedland just before midnight (17:00 BST) on Thursday as a category five storm.

It has since been downgraded to category four but still has the potential to cause significant damage.

A red alert was issued hours earlier, with thousands of people ordered to take immediate shelter.

It is the country's most serious cyclone alert level. Under it, people are told to remain in the strongest, safest part of their homes and to stay away from doors and windows until they are given the all clear by authorities.

More than $1 billion of cocaine nabbed in Australia's biggest drug bust

The investigation, dubbed "Operation Beech", has led to the arrest of 12 people with alleged links to the Mexican drug cartel.

WA Police Commissioner Col Blanch said the operation spanned six weeks and involved intensive surveillance and resources.

"This was an opportunity to catch the syndicate - the group of people that were capable of receiving it, landing it and then distributing it across Australia," Commissioner Blanch said.

"The message from the WA Police Force is unchanged … we will come after you, regardless of where you live on this earth."

Missing girl Cleo Smith found alive by Australian police

According to a statement, police broke into the house about 1am and found her in one of the rooms.

One of the officers picked her up and asked her, "What's your name?"

She replied: "My name is Cleo."

She has been reunited with her parents.


Storm makes landfall in Western Australia

The category three storm made landfall near the town of Kalbarri on Sunday with gusts of up to 170km/h (105mph).

The storm was later downgraded to a tropical low, though strong winds continue to move south-east.

Residents reported smashed houses, fallen trees and downed power lines.

Kalbarri resident Debbie Major said the storm, which hit the resort town around 19:00 local time (11:00 GMT), raged through the night and was "absolutely terrifying".

Western Australia firefighters battle several dangerous bushfires

Blazes are burning to the south and south-east of Perth's greater metropolitan area, with one forcing the evacuation of a retirement village and the other moving through a rubbish tip causing hazardous fumes.

The Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES) issued an emergency warning for a fire in Perth's southern suburbs including parts of The Spectacles, Orelia, Medina, Naval Base, Postans, Kwinana Beach and Hope Valley.

DFES said the fire front was burning fast in a west-north-westerly direction.

WA could bankrupt Australia Rugby Union

The fallout from the Western Force's axing from Super Rugby continues with the State Government now flexing their muscles in terms of possible legal action at a potential $1m price tag.

The West Australian are reporting the State Government has told the ARU it is investigating money they have invested under the thought the Force's place in Super Rugby was guaranteed. Particularly the redevelopment costs of the stadium in Perth which the Force uses.

Girl killed by shark while surfing in Western Australia

The teenager's mother and two siblings were also at the scene, a popular surfing spot near Esperance.

It is the third fatal shark attack in Western Australia within 12 months.

The latest incident happened in the same area where a surfer lost his arms in a shark attack in 2014.

Neville Mansted, a professional fisherman, said he would not surf there again.

Dust cloud hits Western Australia as cyclone looms

Cyclone Yvette is expected to make landfall in Australia's northwest over the Christmas weekend.

Meteorologists have issued a severe weather warning, predicting wind gusts of 160km/h (100mph), heavy rain and possible flash flooding.

The cyclone has been preceded by a dust storm in the region, a major mining centre.

Refrigeration mechanic Dan Carey said clouds the colour of "iron ore" rolled over his town of Port Hedland.

"It feels like the calm before the storm at the moment," he told the BBC.

Wildflower season leaves WA Mid West awash with colour

The sun-drenched landscape in the state's Mid West is awash with colour, attracting thousands of tourists and grey nomads keen to admire one of the world's most diverse collections of wildflowers.

Geraldton-based biologist Wendy Payne said consistent rainfall had brought the region back to life.

"There's an amazing burst of life for the Mid West," Mrs Payne said.

"Insects, birds, mammals, people, wildflowers; it's all happening."