BROOME is preparing for a battering as Cyclone Joyce continues to track along the North West coast.
A low pressure system intensified into a category one tropical cyclone this morning and was about 90km north-west of Broome at 2pm, moving south at 9km/h.
Department of Fire & Emergency Services Kimberley acting superintendent Glenn Hall said the cyclone is expected to cross the coast west of Broome about 8pm.
A yellow alert remains in place this afternoon but is expected to be raised to red by 6pm.
Police said 135 people had sought refuge at a cyclone shelter in Broome overnight, as the low pressure system brought strong winds and heavy rain.
The welfare centre at the Broome Recreation and Aquatic Centre will remain open for evening.
State Emergency Service district officer John Saffrey said there were no call-outs overnight but situation would continue to be monitored.
Great Northern Highway will be closed from 4pm today between Roebuck Plains Roadhouse and Port Hedland while the Shire of Broome has closed all unsealed roads.
A number of flights to and from Broome International Airport were cancelled today due to the unpredictable weather.
The Port of Broome closed at 3.30pm yesterday and recreational users are not able to access boat ramps at Entrance Point.
Extra DFES staff arrived from Perth yesterday and an urban search and rescue team are on standby, as well as two State Emergency Service general rescue teams.
Residents are urged to keep monitor the Emergency WA website www.emergency.wa.gov.au, or get the latest weather updates from DFES on 13 33 37.
Those needing non-life threatening assistance should call the State Emergency Service Unit on 13 25 00 and 000 if life threatening.
Cape Leveque to De Grey, including Broome, as well as remaining inland parts of the far western Kimberley and far northeast Pilbara.
De Grey to Dampier, including Port Hedland, Karratha and Dampier, as well as remaining inland parts of the central and eastern Pilbara, including Nullagine, Marble Bar and Telfer.
DETAILS AT 11AM
- Category 1, sustained winds near centre of 65km/h, gusts to 95km/h.
- Location: estimated 125km north north-west of Broome and 155km west south-west of Cape Leveque.
- Movement: south-west at 7km/h.