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Cyclone Veronica stalls near Pilbara coast

Ben Domensino, Monday March 25, 2019 - 08:16 EDT

Tropical Cyclone Veronica's impacts on Western Australia's Pilbara district are being prolonged this morning, as the system lingers near the coast.

Veronica approached the state's north coast over the weekend as a category four severe tropical cyclone. On Sunday, wind gusts reached 158km/h at Legendre Island, while Roebourne (154km/h) and Port Hedland (119km/h) both registered their highest gusts in six years.

Port Hedland's 179.4mm of rain during the 24 hours to 9am on Sunday was its heaviest March rain on record, with data available back to 1943. It was also their heaviest for any month in 30 years. By 3pm on Sunday, Port Hedland had accumulated more than 200mm of rain from the cyclone.

Image: Tropical Cyclone Veronica near the Pilbara coast on Sunday.

After skimming the Pilbara Coast between Port Hedland and Karratha on Sunday night, the eye of Tropical Cyclone Veronica was still lingering just offshore on Monday morning. However, the system had lost its visible structure in satellite imagery, after upper level winds sheared high level cloud away from its core.

Despite losing the bulk of its cloud, Cyclone Veronica was still a category two tropical cyclone at 3am AWST on Monday. The system could maintain tropical cyclone intensity as it moves towards the west in close proximity to the Pilbara coast on Monday morning. Veronica is expected to weaken below cyclone strength by Monday night.

Damaging to locally destructive winds and heavy rain will continue to affect the Pilbara coast and adjacent inland as the Veronica moves towards the west on Monday. The slow-moving nature of the system will prolong its impacts, which is likely to cause major flooding and coastal inundation.

Marble Bar received more than 100mm of rain during the 24 hours to 5am on Monday, which is more than a month's worth of rain at this time of year.

Looking ahead, the remnants of Tropical Cyclone Veronica should continue moving towards the west on Tuesday and move out into the Indian Ocean from Wednesday.

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