A powerful tropical cyclone has slammed into the West Australian coast, tearing the roof of a popular tourist resort and destroying an iconic jetty.
A fast-moving tropical cyclone bringing winds of up to 170km/h has slammed into the Western Australian coastline before tearing through townships, putting residents in danger.
Tropical Cyclone Seroja made landfall on Sunday evening just south of Kalbarri as a category-three storm, bringing winds of up to 170km/h. It weakened to a category-two as it made its way across land.
It also dumped 11mm of rain on the area in less than 12 hours.
The Bureau of Meteorology said the cyclone then moved toward Geraldton triggering power outages and forcing residents to take refuge by candlelight.
Western Power said more than 4300 homes are without power, which will not be restored until there’s safer access to lines.
“Conditions at Geraldton will now begin to ease as Seroja moves inland,” the BOM said on Sunday night, noting that it is the first time Geraldton had experienced a category-two cyclone since 1956.
Seroja is now tracking across the Wheatbelt with gusts of up to 113km/h felt at Morawa and 11km/h at Goodlands.
In a destructive evening, the wild weather tore part of the roof off the popular dolphin-watching resort Monkey Mia, and strong winds and high tides have destroyed the one-mile jetty at Carnavon.
Many locals took to social media to reveal their makeshift shelters as the eye of the storm approached. One was hiding in the walk-in wardrobe.
A red alert is still current for anywhere south of Carnarvon, all the way to Lancelin, including the City of Greater Geraldton and the Shires of Chapman Valley, Irwin, Mingenew, Morawa, Northampton, Perenjori, Shark Bay and Three Springs.
Coorow, Carnamah, Dalwallinu, Denham, Jurien Bay, Lancelin, Moora, Paynes Find and Wongan Hills, in the Midwest Gascoyne, are also in the red zone.
“There is a threat to lives and homes. You are in danger and need to act immediately, the DFES said.
There were concerns on Sunday that residents in the low lying areas of Denham could become inundated with water as the weather system approached.
A blue alert is in place for residents near Beacon, Cunderdin, Kellerberin, Koorda, Merredin, Mt Marshall, Nungarin, Southern Cross and Trayning.
“Although there is no immediate danger you need to start preparing for dangerous weather and keep up to date,” the warning states”.
Earlier the BOM said locals “need to prepare for cyclonic weather”, which involved organising food and water supplies, an emergency first aid kit, and portable torches and radios.
Originally the cyclone event off the WA coast threatened to produce two systems.
Odette, originally a tropical low, formed into a tropical cyclone after the two systems circled each other over the Indian Ocean on Thursday.
This is known as the Fujiwhara effect.
Odette was downgraded to an ex-tropical cyclone by the Bureau of Meteorology on Saturday.
“Ex-Tropical Cyclone Odette has weakened and poses no threat of gales to the Western Australia coastline, although Tropical Cyclone Seroja is still active,” BOM said.
Both were forecast to make their way down the coast during the weekend but only Seroja was expected to make landfall.
Meteorologist Todd Smith said the interaction between the two systems earlier this week was very unusual as it had not been seen off the WA coast for decades.
“The last time a cyclone affected the Geraldton area was 1990, and even that was a weak tropical cyclone below intensity,” Mr Smith said.