Cyclone Veronica creeping closer

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

Tropical Cyclone Veronica is slowly making her way to the Pilbara coast with a severe impact likely from later Saturday afternoon and on Sunday.

The category 4 system is currently sitting 355 kilometres northwest of Port Hedland and 340 kilometres north of Karratha.

The blue alert has been extended to include the area from Mardie and Wallal Downs, including Port Hedland, South Hedland, Wickham, Roebourne, Point Samson, Karratha, Dampier, Barrow Island, Pannawonica and Marble Bar.

Very destructive winds, major flooding, dangerous waves, very dangerous storm tides and very dangerous coastal inundation is still likely in the blue alert zone from Mardie to Wallal Downs, whilst gales could now extend further west towards Onslow.

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Karratha State Emergency media manager Barry Harrison said the storm surge and flood risk is really dangerous and they are urging people to be smart, play it safe and not drive through flood-ways over the coming days.

“Storm surge estimations have slightly decreased for Karratha, but it’s still a big risk,” he said.

“With 200 to 500 ml of rain expected, flash flooding is out biggest concern so we are asking people not to drive if it is not safe to do so.”

If people are planning to leave before Veronica arrives, now is the time to do so as road closures will be in place from 12pm tomorrow.

Road closures will include Great Northern Highway from Auski Roadhouse to Port Hedland and Port Hedland to Sandfire, North West Coastal Highway from Fortescue Roadhouse to Great Northern Highway Intersection, Dampier Road, Madigan Road, Point Samson - Roebourne Road and Karratha - Tom Price Road.

In Hedland, a community meeting will be held at 4pm at the Town of Port Hedland Council Chambers and will be live streamed on the North West Telegraph’s Facebook page.

The Town of Port Hedland Civic Centre and depot no longer have any sandbags remaining, but the Hedland State Emergency Service will have sandbags available from tomorrow morning.

In Karratha, the SES will have sandbags available again tomorrow and they can be filled with sand at the BMX track on Rosemary Road or at the Karratha Kats Football Club on Tilbrook Close.

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