2 powerful cyclones to hit northern Australia; drenching rains and fierce winds to lash coast

Two powerful cyclones are expected to smash into northern Australia, bringing drenching rains and wind gusts up to 260 kilometers (160 miles) an hour.

The twin storms are both expected to hit remote areas when they make landfall early Friday, about 2,500 kilometers (1,500 miles) apart. Cyclone Lam is on track to cross over a sparsely-populated stretch of the Northern Territory, while the more powerful Cyclone Marcia is expected to hit the eastern coast of Queensland state a few hours later.

The Bureau of Meteorology warned that Marcia had a very destructive core, had intensified rapidly and could grow stronger before it strikes. It is likely to bring storm surges that could cause flooding in low-lying areas.