Travellers urged to leave as Cyclone Veronica intensifies

Cyclone Veronica is now a category 3. Photo: Bureau of Meteorology
Cyclone Veronica is now a category 3. Photo: Bureau of Meteorology

TROPICAL Cyclone Veronica has intensified to a category four and is heading for Western Australia’s Pilbara coast.

Very destructive winds with gusts over 165km/h are possible as the cyclone nears the coast, as well as heavy rain, major flooding and possible storm surges.

A Cyclone Blue Alert has been issued by the Department of Fire and Emergency Services, with travellers encouraged to leave the warning area.

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Gales with gusts up to 100km/h are expected between Pardoo and Mardie from as early as Friday night.

They could extend further east to Wallal, further west to Onslow and extend to inland areas including Pannawonica, Tom Price and Marble Bar later on Saturday.

Destructive winds with gusts exceeding 125 kilometres per hour are forecast to develop along the coast between Dampier and Pardoo later Saturday.

Very destructive winds with gusts in excess of 165 kilometres per hour are possible near the cyclone centre as it approaches the coast over the weekend.

People near Mardie and Pardoo, including Port Hedland, South Hedland, Wickham, Roebourne, Point Samson, Karratha and Dampier are being warned to prepare for cyclonic weather.

“Widespread very heavy rainfall conducive to major flooding is likely along parts of the Pilbara coast over the weekend. Heavy rainfall may extend through the inland Pilbara as the system moves inland,” the Department of Fire and Emergency Services said.

“People along the Pilbara coast are warned of the potential for a very dangerous storm tide as the cyclone approaches the coast over the weekend. Tides are likely to rise significantly above the normal high tide mark with damaging waves and very dangerous coastal inundation.”

For the latest satellite images, visit the Bureau of Meteorology.