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Cyclone Hilda hits WA mainland, expected to weaken after lashing Broome

By Erin Parke and James Carmody, Thursday December 28, 2017 - 08:51 EDT
ABC licensed image
A large tree has fallen across a road in Broome as Cyclone Hilda hits. - ABC licensed

Cyclone Hilda moved along the northern Western Australian coast overnight, bringing down trees and lashing the tourist town of Broome, with wind gusts up of up to 120 kilometres per hour.

The Bureau of Meteorology said the cyclone was moving at 12 kilometres per hour almost parallel to the coast near Anna Plains, about 150 kilometres south-west of Broome.

"Hilda should continue moving in a south-south-westerly direction for the next six hours, just inland from the coast," and should gradually weaken later Thursday morning or early afternoon," the BOM said in a statement.

More than 150 millimetres of rain has already been dumped on Aboriginal communities on the Dampier Peninsula north of Broome.

The BOM said the cyclone is expected to gradually weaken this morning.

A warning remains in place from Broome to Pardoo, not including Broome, the BOM said.

'Possible threat to lives and homes'

Glenn Hall, from the Department of Fire and Emergency Services in Broome, said residents of affected areas need to be prepared.

"We're asking the community to stay advised through whatever means — social media, or ABC — so they've got the most up-to-date information available and can take the appropriate actions," he said.

"There is a possible threat to lives and homes as it approaches, and the system can still intensify, so we're asking people to secure all those things at home that could form a missile, and also be looking at their emergency kit and ensure that's all stocked and ready to go if required."

Horizon Power said there were outages in Broome due to the cyclone, and, at one stage, up to 2,000 customers were without power.

Several flights in and out of Broome were cancelled and hundreds of oil and gas workers were evacuated from rigs off the Pilbara and Kimberley coasts.

Broome resident Larry Pierce said the cyclone felt a lot more intense than the BOM had forecast for the town.

"There are trees down. We're just by Town Beach. There's a power line hanging across the road — probably about four or five metres high — so that's been sealed off by the Broome Shire," he said.

"The port's recorded winds of 128kmph, a lot greater than the forecast … feels like we're in a mini cyclone at the moment."

DFES advises people to:
Fasten all cyclone screens, secure boats, caravans, trailers, garden sheds, outdoor furniture, rainwater tanks and LPG bottles;
Move vehicles under cover;
Ensure pets and animals are in a safe area;
Pack a relocation kit to be taken with your emergency kit;
Be aware that shops may now be closing;
If you live in coastal areas prepare to leave/leave now. Advise others of your plan to evacuate and pack/take warm clothing valuables and essential items. Check your neighbours have received the warning.


© ABC 2017

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