Yellow alert for WA’s north as cyclone bears down

UPDATE: Tropical Cyclone Joyce was about 140km north northwest of Broome and 140km west southwest of Cape Leveque at 9am Thursday, moving southwest at 6km/h.

The cyclone could cross the coast with gusts in excess of 165km/h.

BOM spokesman David Farr said there was a risk of gales as it followed the coast through Broome today, to Pardoo tomorrow and potentially in the next day or two Port Hedland.

“There is always a bit of uncertainty with forecasting the intensity of a system, but given the path that it’s taking and the time over water that it has, we do think that there’s a good chance it could reach Category three, a severe tropical cyclone,” Mr Farr said.

???Authorities warned there was a possible threat to lives and homes.

Heavy rainfall is expected over the northwest and west Kimberley coast, extending to the far eastern Pilbara on Thursday. There could be falls in the 150mm-300mm range where the cyclone passes through, with flash flooding possible.

Very destructive winds with gusts to 180km/h are possible near the centre of the system on Friday if it develops into a severe tropical cyclone.

A Yellow Alert to take action and get ready to go to shelter was issued on Wednesday afternoon covering areas from Cape Leveque to Bidyadanga.

A Yellow Alert is current for people in, near or between Cape Leveque and Bidyadanga, including Broome. People need to take action and get ready to shelter.

People in, near and between Bidyadanga and Port Hedland, including Port Hedland, South Hedland, Marble Bar and nearby communities, need to prepare for cyclonic weather and organise an emergency kit including first aid kit, torch, portable radio, spare batteries, food and water.

People in communities between Cockatoo Island and Cape Leveque are advised that wind dangers have passed.

The last time the northwest endured a cyclone above category three was in February 2013 when category four tropical cyclone Rusty swept through the Pilbara with winds of up to 165 kilometres an hour.

In 2007, category five severe tropical cyclone George crossed WA, reaching peak intensity over Port Hedland, resulting in the area being declared a disaster zone after powerlines fell, trees were uprooted and roofs torn down.

Three people died during the cyclone, including two workers who were bunkered down in their dongas at an FMG mining camp when the units lifted into the air.

It was later determined through a Coroner’s inquest the camp had been built to an inadequate wind region category which meant the dongas and the tie-downs were not built to withstand a cyclone.

– with David Allan-Petale, Kate Hedley and Heather McNeill

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