Severe Tropical Cyclone Damien Reaches WA Coast
A tropical cyclone has brought destructive winds greater than 200km/h to part of the coast of Western Australia's Pilbara region.
Severe Tropical Cyclone Damien reached the coast near Dampier on Saturday afternoon, with its effects being felt at the industrial port and the nearby city of Karratha.
The category three cyclone was causing gusts of up to 220 km/h near its centre, with the worst of the winds not expected to pass the area until the tail end of the cyclone moved through.
When that occurs, debris that has been stripped by the front end of the cyclone could be thrown around, the Bureau of Meteorology's Neil Bennett said.
"Getting into fading light, it's particularly dangerous and a very hazardous environment to be out and about in," he told reporters in Perth on Saturday.
Communities have been warned of more destructive winds, heavy rainfall, flooding and storm surges.
The cyclone is also forecast to hit De Grey to Onslow, including Port Hedland, Pannawonica, Barrow Island and extend to Tom Price and Paraburdoo.
Communities in or near Whim Creek to Mardie and south to Pannawonica, have been placed under red alert -- meaning residents must take shelter immediately, with the alert likely to remain in place all night.
Cyclone Damien was predicted to cross the coast as a category four storm with gusts up to 230 km/h, then start weakening to a category two after midnight.
Heavy rainfalls up to 300 millimetres are expected in some areas.
Tropical Cyclone Damien is expected to be the strongest cyclone to make landfall in the Pilbara region for seven years since 2013's Cyclone Christine.
Coastal Karratha residents have been warned about storm surge risks, which is a tsunami-like phenomenon of rising water.
Port Hedland, the country's largest port and the world's largest bulk export terminal, has been cleared as weather conditions continue to worsen.