7 p.m. Saturday, March 17, Australian Central Standard Time: Tropical Cyclone Marcus has battered Darwin, on the northwest coast of Australia where the Marine Rotational Force is stationed, with 80-mph wind gusts and heavy rain Saturday afternoon.

Media reports said the power and water supply to the city has been affected, and nearly 6 inches of rain has fallen on the area.

At 4 p.m., Marcus was 70 miles south-southwest of Darwin, headed south-southwest at 14 mph, packing 52-mph sustained winds and 63-mph gusts at center as it burrows along the coast, according to the Joint Typhoon Warning Center.

JTWC projects Marcus to hang along Australia’s northwest coast for at least a couple of days, then turn directly west, with wind velocity increasing to 144-mph sustained winds and 173-mph gusts at center as it heads over the eastern Indian Ocean.

Long-range models then show Marcus turning south, possibly affecting Perth and southwest Australia by month’s end.

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Dave Ornauer has been employed by or assigned to Stars and Stripes Pacific almost continuously since March 5, 1981. He covers interservice and high school sports at DODEA-Pacific schools and manages the Pacific Storm Tracker.

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