Cyclone watch zone for Exmouth and Onslow as tropical low threatens to bring gales, floods to Pilbara coast

Caitlyn WattsPilbara News
Cyclone risk for the Pilbara.
Camera IconCyclone risk for the Pilbara. Credit: Tom Zaunmayr

Coastal towns including Exmouth and Onslow are being urged to prepare for dangerous weather as an inland tropical low tracks west towards the coast.

A cyclone blue alert remains current from Mardie to Ningaloo in the Pilbara region, while an all clear has been issued for De Grey to Mardie including Port Hedland and Karratha.

The latest Bureau of Meterology update notes Tropical Low 12U could form into a tropical cyclone on Tuesday off the far west Pilbara coast.

The system has bought heavy rain to Marble Bar and Nullagine and it is expected similar conditions will be seen in Karratha later today and into tonight, with heavy rainfall, strong winds and flooding still a risk across the Pilbara region.

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DFES West Pilbara district officer Paul Leiper said the tropical low was expected to head towards the Onslow coast, however, he said it was unlikely the region would go onto yellow alert.

Topical low track map issued at 9:06 am AWST Monday 1 February 2021.
Camera IconTopical low track map issued at 9:06 am AWST Monday 1 February 2021.

“Exmouth at this stage according to the current track probably holds the most risk for us, although that risk is probably from the consequences of a category one cyclone. So, not a severe cyclone and without destructive winds,” he said.

“Blue alert is now current for an area Mardie to Ningaloo. We are encouraging all residents in that area to ensure they have a plan for this type of weather.

“At this stage, given the forecast we are receiving from the Bureau, it is very unlikely that we will have any yellow alerts for anywhere on the Pilbara coast, but that’s under constant review and can change.”

Current road closures include Ripon Hills Road from Marble Bar to Telfer turnoff and Marble Bar Road, Jigalong Road (Ethel Creek) to Marble Bar. 

Mr Leiper urged any tourists and travellers in the region to consider their situation.

“We are encouraging anyone who is not in permanent accommodation to consider their situation and our first advice to those people would be to move out of the area and remembering that in this part of the state that travelling to safety can take a long time with long distances to be covered so they need to make that decision early and action those decisions as early as they can,” he said.

“Anyone who is thinking about travelling around the Pilbara to really consider their travel plans and needs and to make good decisions around the coming weather and the possibility of flood ways coming up.”

Mr Leiper also discouraged the community from throwing “cyclone parties”.

“We want out community to be able to make good decisions and take good actions against those decision in cases of bad weather or if an emergency situation occurs,” he said.

“You can’t do that if you are under the influence of alcohol or any other influences so we want them to be safe themselves and not be a burden on other community members or our responders.”

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