Cyclone Veronica intensifies to category three as it heads for the Pilbara coast
UPDATE: The Pilbara coast is facing the prospect of a severe cyclone hitting the mainland as early as this weekend.
Cyclone Veronica intensified on Wednesday night to a category three tropical cyclone and at 8pm tonight was estimated to be 505km north of Port Hedland and 560km north northeast of Karratha
The Bureau of Meteorology is forecasting the cyclone could reach severe category four strength and take a dive towards the coast by Saturday morning.
The cyclone is expected to continue tracking west southwest tonight and during Thursday. On Friday the system will intensify further as it adopts a more southerly track, towards the Pilbara coast. There is still some uncertainty in the forecast track but there is the potential for a severe tropical cyclone impact along the Pilbara coast over the weekend.
A watch zone has been declared between Pardoo and Mardie, including Port Hedland and Karratha.
The Department of Fire and Emergency Services has issued a blue alert for all communities in the watch zone.
People in the area need to organise an emergency kit including first aid, torch, radio, batteries, food and water.
BoM has warned the system is slow moving and likely to lead to significant impacts from wind, storm surge and flooding.
A category four cyclone can produce wind gusts of up to 279km/h, enough to cause significant roofing loss, structural damage and dangerous airborne debris.
Get the latest news from thewest.com.au in your inbox.
Sign up for our emails