Tropical Cyclone Rusty is bringing extremely heavy rainfall and very dangerous winds to a vast swathe of the West Australian coast. Pardoo, Whim Creek, Port Hedland and South Hedland are on red alert. Streets are now empty and people urged to stay in shelters. Australian Bureau of Meteorology warned that very destructive winds of up to 165 km/h between Whim Creek and Pardoo are possible on Wednesday, February 27, 2013.
Slow motion and large size of Rusty means very destructive winds will hit the WA coast well before the eye of the storm. Wind gusts of 120km/h have already hit Port Hedland and gale force winds will rip along the coast between Sandfire Roadhouse and Whim Creek, with the destructive winds extending from near Port Hedland to around Wallal.
The Bureau has issued a cyclone warning for coastal areas from Bidyadanga to Mardie including Port Hedland, Karratha and Dampier and adjacent inland areas of the Pilbara, including Marble Bar, Nullagine and Millstream.
On February 26, 2013 (09:00 UTC) JTWC reported that TC Rusty was located approximately 335 NM east-northeast of Learmonth, Australia (19.5S, 119.2E) and has tracked south-southwestward. Animated multispectral satellite imagery showed the system has maintained a ragged eye even as convective bands began to slightly unwind.
The State Emergency Service says communities between Pardoo and Whim Creek, including Port Hedland and South Hedland are on a red alert. A yellow alert has been extended inland to include Marble Bar as well as communities between Wallal and Pardoo.
Bureau of Meteorology predicts the system to intensify to a Category 4 system, equal to Cyclone Tracy which obliterated Darwin, in the next 24 hours before the eye of the storm crosses the coast tomorrow.
- More images here.