Reporting System

Weather Alert: Western Australia

Tropical Cyclone Heidi is Crossing WA’s Pilbara coast, bringing fierce winds and heavy rains.

A red alert has been sounded for Port Hedland as storm surges threaten to inundate low-lying parts of the town.

“We’re certainly feeling the full brunt of Cyclone Heidi as she crosses the coast,” Port Hedland Mayor Kelly Howlett told Channel 9 this morning. “She’s certainly packing a little punch at the moment. “We’ve certainly got the wind gusts of about 140km and very heavy rain.” She urged all residents to remain indoors until the official all clear was given. Heidi started making landfall around 4.30am WST (7.30am AEDT). Communities between Pardoo and Whim Creek have all been ordered to shelter, while those further inland were told to gather emergency supplies and brace for Heidi’s wrath.

The Bureau of Meteorology said winds of up to 120km/h had been whipping along the coast overnight, with destructive gusts of up to 150km/h possible. Up to 250mm of rain was possible across central and eastern parts of the Pilbara, the bureau said. A dangerous storm tide was also predicted for coastal areas. The West Australian newspaper reported that Port Hedland’s airport and bulk export port had shut down. Mining firms across the region have sent home all non-essential workers and families were battening down the hatches.

At 6pm last night, the Bureau of Meteorology issued a red alert for coastal and island communities between Pardoo and Whim Creek, including the communities of Pardoo, Port Hedland, South Hedland and Whim Creek. People in these areas should move to shelter immediately if they have not done so already. Evacuation of residents in low-lying parts of Port Hedland to emergency shelters began earlier this afternoon after Fire and Emergency Services Authority issued an emergency warning as Cyclone Heidi intensified. FESA warned that rapid and powerful flooding is likely as a result of dangerous storm tides tonight as Tropical Cyclone Heidi approaches the Pilbara coast.

…(Herald Sun)


January 12, 2012 - Posted by | Weather | , , , , ,

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