Heavy rains have lashed a stretch of northern Western Australia’s coast as the tropical low brewing off the coast draws closer to the mainland and the Bureau of Meteorology raises the alert level.
People in or near Cape Leveque down to Wallal Downs, north-east of Port Hedland, are being warned to prepare for wild weather as a tropical low bears down on the coast.
The warning area for gale force winds includes the tourist town of Broome.
A yellow alert indicates people should prepare for the cyclone’s arrival. If it reaches red, people are advised to take shelter immediately.
However earlier predictions of a category 2 cyclone developing have been downgraded, with the system now only expected to reach category 1..
Milk, bread run out at local shops
Broome concreter Tony Richards, 55, said while it was not great for the social calendar, the timing is fortunate for business.
“It’s perfect, I’ve got five blokes off with their kids anyway,” he said.
“If we get heavy rain it stops us concreting for days and then it’s really sweaty when we go back to work.”
Mr Richards has lived in Broome for 26 years and said while the town was used to cyclones it was some time since it was hit with a big one.
“There might be people who are complacent, but I would hope not, I don’t want to get hit by stuff that they’ve left lying around,” he said.
“We were up here for Cyclone Rosita, that was scary, that was a cat 4 and we were in the hallway in a brick house and it sounded like a whirly-bird on the roof was about to take off.”
He said with three children at home, he takes the warnings seriously and makes sure to stock up on supplies before the usual pre-storm rush.
“I think the local Coles and Woolies must sponsor BOM because the shops get shopped out straight away as soon as we go on cyclone warning,” he said.
“The shelves are empty, all the milk’s run out and the bread’s run out.”
Heavy rains lash coast
The system passed just off the coast of Cape Leveque about 2:00am on Wednesday, and is expected to continue to track parallel to the coast in waters off the west Kimberley, near Broome, later today.
Cape Leveque recorded 104 millimetres in a 24-hour period.
The bureau predicted it will hit somewhere near Wallal Station, about 260 kilometres north-east of Port Hedland, late on Thursday.
Heavy rain and strong winds are expected over parts of the west Kimberley, extending into the eastern Pilbara on Thursday, and tides may be higher than expected.
A blue alert advising people to keep watch and review their family cyclone plan, applies to the section of coast from Wallal to De Grey.
People in the area are being warned to secure loose debris around their homes, and prepare to take shelter.
- Fasten all cyclone screens, secure boats, caravans, trailers, garden sheds, outdoor furniture, rainwater tanks and LPG bottles;
- Move vehicles under cover;
- Ensure pets and animals are in a safe area;
- Pack a relocation kit to be taken with your emergency kit;
- Be aware that shops may now be closing;
- If you live in coastal areas prepare to leave/leave now. Advise others of your plan to evacuate and pack/take warm clothing valuables and essential items. Check your neighbours have received the warning.