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Flooding as cyclone Peta crosses Pilbara coast

Wednesday January 23, 2013 - 19:32 EDT

There has been some flooding in Western Australia's Pilbara after tropical cyclone Peta crossed the coast.

The category one cyclone, which developed from a tropical low, hit land at Point Samson, about 35 kilometres east of Karratha.

Gales with gusts up to 100 kilometres an hour are expected close to the cyclone centre over the next few hours.

A flood watch and a blue alert has been issued for the Pilbara and the Bureau of Meteorology is advising that squally thunderstorms and locally heavy rainfall can be expected.

Port Hedland received more than 100 millimetres of rain overnight and work crews are out and about trying to fix flooding and drainage issues.

The town's youth centre has received minor damage while heavy rains have closed the local landfill site.

The Department of Fire and Emergency Services', Jim Cahill, says the State Emergency Service has not yet received any calls for help.

"Drains have become blocked and the water has just built up around the drains," he said.

"It will slowly go away, they haven't reported any major flooding areas at all."

The Dampier Port has closed in anticipation of adverse weather.

The port authority's chief executive Steve Lewis says they will monitor the situation before re-opening the facility.

"We have had to err on the side of caution and just make sure everything is safe," he said.

"However, obviously well in a position now for this thing to pass through."

Port Hedland's port is expected to re-open later this afternoon while Dampier's port remains closed.

Rio Tinto yesterday suspended ship loading operations at the ports of Dampier and Cape Lambert.

A 160 kilometre section of the North West Coastal highway is closed due to flooding between Roebourne & the Great Northern Highway intersection, 40 kilometres west of Port Hedland.


© ABC 2013

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