A tropical cyclone could bring damaging winds and heavy rain to parts of Western Australia’s Pilbara region in the state’s north.
Residents and travellers along the coast from Roebourne, near Karratha, to Bidyadanga, south of Broome, are being urged to prepare for a potentially severe impact on Friday or Saturday.
Anyone without appropriate housing should leave immediately or find suitable accommodation, the Department of Fire and Emergency Services said on Wednesday.
A tropical low heading towards the coast is expected to intensify and develop into a tropical cyclone in coming days, with a Category 3 impact possible.
It would be the first tropical cyclone to hit the West Australian coast this season.
“A storm surge is not going to be too much of an issue for us in this instance; it’s more the destructive winds, particularly if it’s a Cat 3,” DFES assistant commissioner Paul Ryan told reporters.
“We’re expecting the rainfall … will be concentrated around the cell. It won’t be widespread flooding to the area.
“We do have some at-risk areas that we have identified and we’re planning towards what we need to do to respond accordingly.”
A Category 3 cyclone would be expected to deliver up to 200mm of rain and wind gusts up to 200km/h.
Anyone in the affected area is encouraged to assess their properties for loose items, tie down boats or caravans and prepare a survival kit including a radio, torch, mobile phone charger, food, water and any necessary medication.
Holiday-makers camping or travelling in caravans are being urged to leave the Pilbara immediately.
“A cyclone is not a place you would want to be in a caravan or camping,” Mr Ryan said.
“It’s probably going to take you a couple of days but we need to start planning and moving now.”
Additional emergency crews could be deployed from Perth to the state’s north on Friday depending on the severity of the impact.
Another tropical cyclone could hit the remote Cocos Keeling Islands, 900km from Christmas Island, in coming days.