The Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) has warned of destructive winds and dangerous storm tides as Tropical Cyclone Christine approaches Western Australia’s coast.
The cyclone is about 300 kilometres north-west of Broome and is bringing rainfall and wind gusts up to 100 kilometres an hour.
The weather bureau says Christine is moving south-west at nine kilometres per hour, roughly parallel to the coast.
The system is predicted to hit the Pilbara coast near Karratha late tomorrow or early Tuesday.
BLUE Alert for Dampier Peninsula to Onslow in the Kimberley and Pilbara http://t.co/TUZFXxL1Li
— DFES (@dfes_wa) December 29, 2013
On Monday, the cyclone is forecast to peak as a category three, bringing gales and heavy rainfall to Karratha and possibly as far west as Exmouth.
The Port Hedland Port Authority has evacuated ships from the inner and outer harbours.
— Matt Tinney (@Matt_Tinney) December 29, 2013
Port Hedland Mayor Kelly Howlett says there is no sense of panic in the region.
“I think the mood is quite positive, everyone has been helping each other, helping neighbours and so on, making sure things are all ready,” she said.
“The community has been very busy and it’s great to see people have done their preparations in terms of taking down shade sails, making sure bins and other items are secured safely.
“In terms of the Town of Port Hedland, we’ve made sure all our parks and public reserves are ready with our shade sails and bins, getting sandbags ready to be delivered to public buildings and also working on retic (irrigation) systems, getting ready to turn off barbecues and so on.”
— ABC Emergency (@ABCemergency) December 29, 2013
Coastal communities between Pardoo and Mardie have been warned of the potential for a dangerous storm tide late on Monday or early on Tuesday.
Both Qantas and Virgin say they are closely monitoring the situation but there is no planned alterations to flight schedules at this stage.
The WA cyclone season begins in November and continues through to April.
The Pilbara coast experiences more cyclones than any other part of Australia, according to the weather bureau.
Since 1910, there have been 48 cyclones that have caused damaging wind gusts of 90kph in the Karratha, Dampier and Roebourne region.