Cyclone Veronica’s core reaches Pilbara coast as storm’s centre looms just hours off shore

North West Telegraph
VideoThe category three system is expected to bring destructive wind gusts up to 165km/h.

Severe Tropical Cyclone Veronica is still 90km west of Port Hedland, but the coast is already receiving a lashing with destructive winds ripping up trees and 174mm of rain registered in the past 24 hours alone.

The cyclone’s core reached land midway between Karratha and Port Hedland this morning, and its centre is forecast to cross the coast later this afternoon or evening.

Winds with gusts up to 125km per hour have already developed between Dampier and Port Hedland and are expected to extend inland later today.

The cyclone has been downgraded to a category 3 and is predicted not to rise back to category 4.

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People along the Pilbara coast have been warned of the potential for a very dangerous storm tide on the high tide at 1pm in Port Hedland, with damaging waves predicted to strike the coast.

Port Hedland Mayor Camilo Blanco said there was already flooding throughout town as residents buckled down ahead of high tide.

“Before this even started (on Saturday morning) the main street in town and Pier Hotel were underwater by 30cm,” he said.

“The risk is the high tide and that’s at 1pm. The cyclone is still intensifying and there’s a real risk of storm surge.”

Karratha local Jodie Glatz said trees around her property had been ripped up and she was nervous to think the worst was ahead.

“It’s scary to think this isn’t the worst of it,” she said.

“It’s just a waiting game.”

Marg Bertling, also of Karratha, said she was well aware cyclones could be deadly and it was “not pleasant” to bunker down as the storm raged outside.

“It is nerve-racking,” she said.

“I’m not gonna sit here and say I’m not afraid.

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