Cyclone Veronica yellow alert extends across Pilbara as residents ready to weather severe tropical storm making landfall today

North West Telegraph
VideoThe category 4 cyclone is expected to hit land in the Pilbara between Karratha and Port Hedland on the weekend.

Cyclone Veronica is now visible on the Dampier radar and gales are expected to develop over the coming hours, with the yellow alert extending between Wallal and Mardie.

Residents in Port Hedland, South Hedland, Point Samson, Wickham, Roebourne, Karratha and Dampier need to take action and get ready to shelter from the category 4 cyclone, which poses a risk to lives and homes.

The Department of Fire and Emergency Services has urged residents to get ready for dangerous weather by securing loose material around their homes and ensuring their emergency kits are complete.

“Travellers and residents who are not prepared to the highest level are encouraged to leave the cyclone warning area for a safer place,” the alert read.

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Cyclone Veronica is currently sitting 270 kilometres northwest of Port Hedland and is moving south at 6km per hour.

Destructive winds with gusts exceeding 125 kilometres per hour are forecast to develop along the coast between Pardoo and Mardie this afternoon, with gusts exceeding 165km per hour to follow tonight.

Residents along the Pilbara coast are also warned of a very dangerous storm tide, expected to reach 4m above the normal high tide mark, resulting in dangerous coastal inundation.

A blue alert remains in place for people in or near communities for parts of the inland Pilbara including Pannawonica and Nullagine.

Widespread heavy rainfall conducive to major flooding is likely over the Pilbara coast and adjacent inland areas over the weekend and road closures will be in place today from 12pm on North West Coastal Highway, Great Northern Highway and Karratha Tom Price Road in both directions.

The Bureau of Meteorology stated Veronica may travel more slowly than a typical system as it crosses the coast tomorrow morning and as communities in its path should prepare to shelter from the destructive winds for an extended period of 12 hours or more.

More sandbags are on their way to Hedland and should arrive for pick up from the Civic Centre in Port Hedland, Hamilton Road, South Hedland and the SES building by mid morning.

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