A NASA satellite image of Cyclone Rusty, taken yesterday as it approached the West Australian coast. Picture: AFP Source: AFP
PORT Hedland in Western Australia is on red alert as the category three severe tropical cyclone Rusty moves slowly towards the coast.
Port Hedland residents have been urged to leave their homes immediately.
Emergency shelters have been opened at the Andrew McLaughlin Community Centre on Keesing Street in Port Hedland and at the Wanangkura Recreation Centre on Hamilton Road, South Hedland.
At 10.40am (WST), the cyclone was 170km north northeast of Port Hedland and 320km northeast of Karratha, moving south at 6km/h.
Conditions in the town are expected to worsen today and tomorrow.
Very destructive winds with gusts of more than 165km/h are likely to develop on the coast between Whim Creek and Pardoo tomorrow as Rusty approaches the coast, the weather bureau
During today and tomorrow, very heavy rainfall is likely to lead to major flooding in the De Grey catchment.
Significant flooding is expected in the Fortescue catchment and in Pilbara coastal streams.
The cyclone’s intensity, size and slow movement is also likely to lead to a very dangerous storm tide.
Shops in Port Hedland are being sandbagged, with supermarket shelves clear of water and tinned food.
Bottle shops are reporting long queues as locals prepare for Rusty’s arrival.
Port Hedland’s airport was shut at 9pm (WST) last night and all commercial flights cancelled.
The port is also in shutdown, possibly for the rest of the week at least.
Eleven schools have been closed.
Images from NASA’s Terra satellite show Rusty is developing an eye 20 nautical miles wide.
The Kimberley town of Broome has been given the all-clear, however.
- Relocate warning issued for Cyclone Rusty (news.smh.com.au)
- CORRECTED-Australia’s top iron ore port braces for direct cyclone hit (uk.reuters.com)
- Port Hedland braces for Cyclone Rusty (news.theage.com.au)