Blue cyclone alert area widened

Sophia ConstantineNorth West Telegraph

The cyclone blue alert covering much of the Pilbara today has been extended to include Ningaloo.

Vessels were this morning cleared from the Ports of Port Hedland, Ashburton and Dampier in preparation for the arrival of a tropical low, expected to intensify into a cyclone late Friday or Saturday.

The Pilbara Ports Authority ordered the clearing from anchorages with vessels to depart the inner harbour at Port Hedland by 1pm and those at Ashburton and Dampier by 2pm.

The blue alert now covers the area from Port Hedland (not including Port Hedland or South Hedland) to Ningaloo, including Barrow Island but not including Pannawonica.

This includes the towns of Whim Creek, Wickham, Point Sampson, Roebourne, Karratha, Dampier, Onslow, Rio Tinto minesite MESA A and Exmouth.

Meanwhile, residents in the De Grey River catchment area were being advised to take action as minor flooding was expected today and tomorrow.

The warning, issued by the DFES at 11.05am, said water was expected to be fast flowing and levels would rise quickly.

Drivers were told some roads may be closed due to rising flood waters.

VideoBrave drivers test their skill in crossing flooded roads after heavy rain in the Pilbara.

Ripon Hills Road is open to four-wheel drives and trucks only in both directions from Marble Bar to Telfer turnoff, while Marble Bar Road is open to four-wheel drives and trucks in both directions from Shaw River/Abydos intersection to Munjina-Roy Hill road.

In the East Pilbara, drivers were told to expect flash flooding and asked to “exercise caution” due to water over the road on the Great Northern Highway, where only one lane was open in both directions from Meekatharra to Capricorn, and Nanutarra Munjina Road which was open to four-wheel drives and trucks in both directions from Paraburdoo-Tom Price Road intersection to Fortescue Crossing Drive.

In the Kimberley, people in the Ord and Fitzroy River catchements and in the North and West Kimberley Districts were this afternoon told to take action to prepare for minor flooding, expected today and tomorrow.

The Gibb River Road was listed as closed between Blina Turnoff and Great Northern Highway as of 12.50pm.

The Bureau of Meteorology has been monitoring the tropical low which this morning lay over open water west of Broome.

BOM predicts the low will continue to track west south-west, parallel to the Pilbara coast, and reach tropical cyclone intensity late Friday or Saturday.

Should it reach cyclonic speeds it will be named Alfred.

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At about 11am, the low lay 55 kilometres of 17.7 degrees South, 120.1 degrees East, 230 kilometres west of Broome and 340 kilometres north north-east of Port Hedland.

VideoNorth West residents are being warned a tropical cyclone could reach the Kimberley on Friday.

Department of Fire and Emergency services are advising people within the blue alert area to prepare for cyclonic weather and organise emergency kits.

For more information on alerts, visit the Emergency WA website.

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