Storm surge fears as Veronica intensifies overnight
Concern is mounting in the Pilbara about a dangerous storm surge as severe Tropical Cyclone Veronica shapes up to cross the coast near the height of a spring tide.
Current forecasts have Veronica hitting between Pardoo and Mardie around noon on Sunday, the same time as a 6.1m spring tide reaches its highest mark in Karratha’s Nickol Bay.
To the east a 7.4m spring tide is expected at 1.30pm in Port Hedland, and Exmouth Gulf will have 2.7m tides to the west.
The Bureau of Meteorology has warned people to prepare for a very dangerous storm tide, damaging waves and very dangerous coastal inundation this weekend.
Veronica has rapidly intensified to a severe category four cyclone over the past 24 hours and is expected to reach category five on Friday before turning south towards the Pilbara coast.
The system currently sits 500km north-north west of Port Hedland and is producing wind gusts of up to 230kmh.
There is still some uncertainty about where Veronica will track.
Department of Fire and Emergency Services has issued a blue alert for Karratha, Port Hedland and surrounding towns, urging all people in the area to ensure their emergency kit is ready.
Shelves in Pilbara supermarkets are already being swept clean as residents prepare for the weekend.
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.
Our next update will be at 9am.
Get the latest news from thewest.com.au in your inbox.
Sign up for our emails