Storm tides rise on east Pilbara coast as Cyclone Veronica lurks less than 100km from Port Hedland

North West Telegraph
The cyclone hits.
Camera IconThe cyclone hits. Credit: 7NEWS

Tropical Cyclone Veronica, said to pose “the biggest risk to the region in a decade”, is bringing destructive winds and torrential rain ahead of her expected arrival on the Pilbara coast later today.

The cyclone’s core has reached land and is over the coast just east of Roebourne and west of Port Hedland.

The centre is forecast to remain near the coast this evening and overnight. Veronica is forecast to weaken tonight and start to move to the west. Further weakening is expected during Monday.

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At 8pm today, the cyclone was estimated to be 100km east of Karratha and 95km west of Port Hedland.

The Severe Tropical Cyclone was downgraded to a category 3 overnight.

VideoRainfall is set to reduce, with what is left of the cyclone to head west.

RED ALERT: People in or near communities between DeGrey and Mardie, including

Port Hedland, South Hedland, Whim Creek, Point Samson, Wickham, Roebourne,

Karratha, Dampier but excluding Marble Bar, need to go to shelter immediately.

BLUE ALERT: People in or near communities for parts of the inland Pilbara

including Pannawonica. need to prepare for cyclonic weather and organise an

emergency kit including first aid kit, torch, portable radio, spare batteries,

food and water.

ALL CLEAR: People in or near Wallal to DeGrey and inland to Marble Bar,

including Marble Bar, are advised that there is no longer the risk of gales.

VideoThe biggest danger tonight, a predicted storm surge up to 4m above tide.

The Bureau of Meteorology’s update this morning recorded coastal impacts occurring between Dampier and Port Hedland and destructive winds with gusts exceeding 125km per hour that are expected to extend inland in coming hours.

“Veronica may be travelling more slowly than a typical system as it nears and crosses the coast during Sunday, and as a result communities in the path of the cyclone should prepare to shelter from the destructive winds for an extended period today,” the update read.

The cyclone is travelling 9km/h south-east and is just 95km west of Port Hedland and 110km north-east of Karratha.

The Department of Fire and Emergency Services warned residents of affected areas to remain inside and shelter in the strongest part of the house and stay away from doors and windows.

North West Coastal Highway is closed in both directions from Dewitt Road to the Great Northern Highway intersection and Great Northern Highway in both directions between Auski Roadhouse and Sandfire Roadhouse.

Several other roads are also closed off today, including Karratha Tom Price Road, Point Samson Roebourne Road, Dampier Road, Madigan Road and Ripon Hills Road.

Cyclone Veronica is not expected to downgrade to a category 1 until tomorrow night.

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