Updated: 3/26/2019 4:54:34 AM
Veronica — a category one system overnight — was downgraded by the Bureau of Meteorology early this morning, with red alert warnings lifted for remaining areas including Karratha.
Soldiers and police officers in specialist army trucks have managed to reach the isolated suburb of Boodarie on the outskirts of Port Hedland, rescuing 21 people. Many residents had been left sheltering in their homes, most of which have become temporary islands in the wake of the former cyclone.
Updated: 3/25/2019 2:14:31 AM
Cyclone Veronica lingered about 95 km off the nation's north-west coast on Monday, officials said. Despite no longer being expected to make landfall, the category two system is moving slowly and has prompted warnings for locals to remain indoors.
Updated: 3/24/2019 3:44:37 AM
Port Hedland Mayor Camilo Blanco said the rain and winds dramatically intensified within a short period of time. "The rain has petered off a bit but it was belting down," he said. "The winds have picked up a massive amount. On social media, we've seen a few trees lifted out." Karratha Mayor Peter Long said the strong southerly winds reached 120 km/h and caused vegetation damage and destroyed a shed. "I'm concerned about the cyclone surge because it's a Spring tide which is the highest tide of the year so we're expecting a surge of 2-5 meters," he said. The Departments of Fire and Emergency Services' urges residents in red alert zones to seek shelter in the strongest, safest parts of their homes and to stay clear of doors or windows. They said people would need to stay in shelter longer than usual due to the destructive storm's slow pace. The premier, commenting on reports people had ventured into the storm for selfies, warned against "stupid" behavior.
Updated: 3/23/2019 4:58:06 AM
The cyclone was still a category 4 system with sustained winds near the center measuring 165 km/h, and gusting up to 230 km/h, as of 3 pm.
A red alert has been issued for people between Pardoo and Whim Creek, including Port Hedland and South Hedland, extending east but excluding Marble Bar. People are urged to seek shelter immediately.
A yellow alert is in place for communities between Wallal to Pardoo and Whim Creek to Mardie, including Point Samson, Wickham, Roebourne, Karratha, Dampier and inland including Marble Bar.
Port Hedland mayor Camilo Blanco issued a warning to the community about taking the risk seriously. “Do not get intoxicated, You need to be alert and vigilant.” he said.
Updated: 3/22/2019 4:33:10 AM
Cyclone Veronica is gaining strength as it approaches Western Australia's Pilbara coast with a predicted 11-meter storm surge, but it remains unclear exactly where it will make landfall. Communities along the state's north-west coast are preparing themselves for the arrival of the category four tropical cyclone, which is now about 355 kilometers north-northwest of Port Hedland, home to one of the world's busiest ports. While it is still strengthening, forecasters say it may not develop into a category five system as initially thought. In Port Hedland, people in low-lying areas between the port and Pretty Pool, including the suburb of Wedgefield, are being urged to evacuate. A huge tidal surge is forecast to result in waves up to 4 meters higher than the usual 7.5-meter tides experienced at this time of year.
Updated: 3/21/2019 11:24:26 AM
In less than 24 hours, Veronica went from an unnamed tropical low to a Category 4 intense tropical cyclone. Further strengthening is expected as Veronica turns southward toward the Australia coastline into Saturday. Veronica may become a Category 5 tropical cyclone for a time late this week. She may be moving slowly, but experts say that’s what makes Veronica so dangerous, the longer she has to build, the bigger her impact is expected to be.
“It will bring intense rainfall, strong winds and the potential for a destructive storm surge to the Pilbara Coast," James Ashley from the Bureau of meteorology said. Motorists in the area are filling their cars with petrol before it’s too late.
Winds are predicted to reach up to 280km/h and between 200 and 300mm of rain is expected over the coming days, with more than 500mm expected over the cyclone event. Concern is also mounting over a dangerous storm surge, which could be several metres above average, combined with an already high tide. Communities are being warned of flash flooding and coastal inundation.
The blue alert area includes the communities of Mardie, Pardoo, Port Hedland, South Hedland, Wickham, Roeburne, Point Samson, Karratha and Dampier. Although there is no immediate danger, those communities have been asked to start preparing, to secure or remove loose materials from around their homes and to ensure they have an emergency kit ready to go.
Superintendent Carr said residents needed to keep up to date with the latest warnings, ensure they have a battery operated radio in case there was a power outage, secure loose items around their home and stockpile supplies.
"In getting your emergency stocks ready, start thinking about what food stocks you'll need and water you'll need, bearing in mind that there may be a period after the cyclone passes where there may not be power. People who are travelling around that area, please do not cross flooded roadways. It is very difficult to determine the depth and how fast it is flowing. We would also encourage anyone who doesn't need to be there such as tourists to actually leave the area now. With the weather coming over, the storm surge and the subsequent flooding, it is not going to be a very pleasant holiday environment." he said.
Published Wednesday, March 20, 2019
Cyclone Veronica intensified on Wednesday night to a category three tropical cyclone and at 8 pm tonight was estimated to be 505 km north of Port Hedland and 560 km north northeast of Karratha
The Bureau of Meteorology is forecasting the cyclone could reach severe category four strength and take a dive towards the coast by Saturday morning.
The cyclone is expected to continue tracking west southwest tonight and during Thursday. On Friday the system will intensify further as it adopts a more southerly track, towards the Pilbara coast. There is still some uncertainty in the forecast track but there is the potential for a severe tropical cyclone impact along the Pilbara coast over the weekend.
A watch zone has been declared between Pardoo and Mardie, including Port Hedland and Karratha.
The Department of Fire and Emergency Services has issued a blue alert for all communities in the watch zone.
People in the area need to organize an emergency kit including first aid, torch, radio, batteries, food and water.
BoM has warned the system is slow moving and likely to lead to significant impacts from wind, storm surge and flooding.
A category four cyclone can produce wind gusts of up to 279 km/h, enough to cause significant roofing loss, structural damage and dangerous airborne debris.
Cyclone Veronica Facts
Affected Area: 500 km.
Alert Level: Yellow
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