Floodwaters and damaging wind gusts are now the main concern for residents across Western Australia’s Pilbara, as Tropical Cyclone Stan continues to move east through the region.
Cyclone Stan crossed the coast east of Pardoo early this morning and is moving south-east at 24 kilometres an hour, dumping heavy rainfall and bringing strong wind gusts of up to 95 kilometres an hour.
The system made landfall as a category two but has been downgraded to a category one, and is expected to be downgraded further to a low later on Sunday.
Marble Bar is still under red alert, but the all-clear has been given for communities bounded by Whim Creek to Munjina to Jigalong, and Port Hedland to Broome.
It includes Pardoo, Sandfire, Wallal and Bidyadanga.
Paul Leiper from the Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES) West Pilbara office said two men were rescued from the top of their vehicle after becoming trapped in rising floodwaters on Kurrakulli road in Paraburdoo earlier this morning.
“Not entirely sure how they ended up in the situation they did, but our crews received a call early this morning just after seven o’clock for people that were trapped on the roof of their vehicle,” he said.
“I believe it was just one of those localised, rapidly rising creeks near Paraburdoo.
“The occupants were trapped in their vehicle, our local response crews did a very good job and swiftly made contact and secured those people and got them back to dry land,” he said.
The weather bureau’s Joe Courtney said the system was dumping heavy falls and could cause flashing flooding in parts of the eastern Pilbara.
“It’s still likely to cause heavy rain and strong winds as it goes through the interior of the state, so some of the desert communities will feel the impacts of this even going into [Monday] morning as it tracks towards the South Australian border,” he said.
“The heaviest rain in the centre probably falls up to around 100 millimetres, we’ve had totals of 125 millimetres being reported, will be a bit patchy but certainly near the centre itself, falls near 100 mills are likely.
“The highest winds are probably in fairly remote areas at the moment, those winds might affect places like Telfer but certainly more marginal winds in terms of potential for damage now.”
A flood warning is current for the De Grey River and Fortescue River catchments and east Pilbara coastal rivers.
The Great Northern Highway has been opened, but DFES is urging motorists to be cautious.
Mr Leiper said there had been few calls for assistance stemming from Cyclone Stan
“At this stage we’ve had very little requests for assistance from the community, we’ve been in touch with Pardoo Station and all the stakeholders in that area and it all seems good there,” he said.
“It looks like we’ve been well prepared and there hasn’t been any significant damage.”
But he warned residents to remain vigilant.
“I just implore people to stay across the information, listen to the ABC, monitor the bureau’s website, monitor the DFES website and make good choices.”