Preparation vital despite below-average NW wet season forecast

Alicia PereraPilbara News
Drone footage of flooding from Cyclone Veronica in Boodarie, South Hedland.
Camera IconDrone footage of flooding from Cyclone Veronica in Boodarie, South Hedland. Credit: Matt Anderson/7NEWS

Authorities are urging North West residents to avoid complacency and start preparing for wild weather despite what is forecast to be a below average wet season.

The Bureau of Meteorology has forecast about two coastal impacts for the Pilbara and Kimberley during the 2019-20 wet season, with a “significant risk” that one of them will reach severe tropical cyclone status.

An average number of cyclones for the North West wet season, which runs from October to April, is five.

BOM acting State manager for WA James Ashley said despite the below average forecast residents should make sure they were prepared and and remained vigilant throughout the season.

“Last season we saw a below average number of tropical cyclones with just three cyclones in the WA region, and yet severe tropical cyclone Veronica was a clear example that it only takes one system to significantly affect communities, as it produced significant impacts for the central Pilbara with its destructive winds, very heavy rainfall, a storm surge along the coast and flooding through large parts of the central Pilbara,” he said.

DFES acting Pilbara Supt Terry Shehan said the Pilbara’s experience of severe tropical cyclone Veronica, which led to the closure of major roads and businesses, and people having to evacuate their homes, was a powerful reminder of how much a cyclone could impact on communities,

He said residents should start preparing now by tidying up around their homes, assembling an emergency kit, stocking enough food and water to last at least five days, and familiarising themselves with the cyclone warning system.

“If you’re not prepared for the worst, you’re putting yourself and your family in danger,” he said.

The 2018-19 wet season was below average for both cyclones and rainfall but severe tropical cyclone Veronica tracked close to the coast and caused significant damage to parts of the Pilbara in March.

Two other cyclones, Savannah and Wallace, also formed off the coast late in the season but did not impact on communities.

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