Cyclone approaching Western Australia

Last updated 18:56 30/12/2013

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Residents have taken shelter as Tropical Cyclone Christine approaches Western Australia's Pilbara coast and  brings destructive storms to the region.

A red alert has been issued for people in or near coastal areas between Pardoo and Mardie including Port Hedland, South Hedland, Whim Creek, Roebourne, Point Samson, Wickham, Karratha and Dampier.

''You need to immediately head to shelter and stay indoors away from doors and windows,'' the Department of Fire and Emergency  Services warned.

The Department for Child Protection and Family Support has set up a relocation point at the JD Hardie Centre in South Hedland where about 85 people have sought shelter.

An emergency welfare centre has also been opened at the Karratha Leisureplex.

A yellow alert is current for people in inland areas including Marble Bar, Tom Price, Paraburdoo and Pannawonica.

Authorities say there is a possible threat to lives and homes as the cyclone approaches.

A blue alert remains for people in or near coastal areas between Bidyadanga and Pardoo, and between Mardie and Onslow, and the inland area from Marble Bar to Newman. 

If the path of the system remains unchanged, a red alert will be declared from Tom Price to Paraburdoo, the Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) says.

Earlier today, BoM estimated the category three tropical cyclone was 135km north of Port Hedland and 250km northeast of Karratha, and moving southwest at 12km/h towards the Pilbara coast.

Cyclone Christine will continue to intensify and is expected to cross the coast between Karratha and Port Hedland on Monday night or early on Tuesday morning, BoM says.

Gales with gusts to 110km/h and heavy rainfall are occurring between Bidyadanga and Whim Creek, including Port Hedland, and should extend west overnight, possibly as far as Oslow.

Very destructive winds with gusts in excess of 200km/h are likely near the centre as the cyclone crosses the coast, while destructive winds with gusts in excess of 130km/h are expected to extend inland on Monday night as the cyclone moves south, BoM says.

Heavy rainfall is expected near the cyclone track and flood warnings have been issued for the Pilbara, as well as dangerous storm tides and damaging waves on Monday night.

Horizon Power says 176 customers are without power in South Hedland and supply will remain out until the cyclone passes.

Water Corp advises the Yule Borefield, which supplies Port Hedland, is likely to be significantly impacted by the cyclone.

The De Grey Borefield will be used and it is not expected that supply will be disrupted.

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An emergency welfare centre will open later on Monday at the Civic Centre in Marble Bar, as well as at Tom Price and Paraburdoo in the evening.

Authorities said people should only relocate if they had nowhere safe to stay and should bring essential documents such as birth and marriage certificates, insurance and property documents, bank details, medications, jewellery, photographs and clothing.

- AAP

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