Coastal towns brace for cyclone
A 'blue alert' was issued for coastal communities on Sunday. Photo: Bureau of Meteorology
Residents have been warned to prepare for dangerous weather as a cyclone intensifies off Western Australia's north coast.
Tropical Cyclone Rusty is expected to bring gales late on Sunday night or early on Monday, as it tracks towards the coast, followed by very heavy rain on Tuesday and Wednesday.
A cyclone "warning" has been issued for the coastal area of Wallal to Whim Creek and a "blue alert" remains in place for people in or near the coastal communities of Broome to Whim Creek.
At 2pm on Sunday, the category one cyclone was estimated to be 350 kilometres north of Port Hedland and 435 kilometres west of Broome, moving south at 8km/h, the Bureau of Meteorology said.
It will continue to intensify on Monday and there is a high risk that it will cross the coast as a severe tropical cyclone on Tuesday or Wednesday.
Tropical Cyclone Rusty is large and expected to move more slowly than usual, resulting in higher than normal rainfall, the bureau says.
Widespread very heavy rainfall is expected on Tuesday and Wednesday and is likely to lead to major flooding in the De Grey catchment and in the Fortescue.
Residents have been warned to review their family cyclone plan and organise an emergency kit with a portable battery-operated radio, torch, spare batteries and first aid kit.
The Port Hedland Port Authority said anchorage evacuation was well underway and they were already experiencing winds stronger that gale-force.
The port is expected to be officially closed on Monday morning when the last vessel clears port limits.