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Police warn against 'cyclone parties' as West Australia's north prepares for Cyclone Joyce

Emily Jane Smith and Erin Parke, Thursday January 11, 2018 - 13:20 EDT
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A tropical low pressure system is set to develop into a cyclone off WA's north coast. - ABC licensed

Broome police are advising residents not to hold "cyclone parties" as Western Australia's north brace for its second tropical cyclone in a fortnight.

A tropical low brewing off the Kimberley coast is likely to develop into a cyclone — to be named Joyce — this morning, with the possibility of a category three storm by Friday.

"Don't drink too much alcohol, in the event that you need to move or something happens to your house and you need your wits with you, so you can get yourself and your family out to a safe place," said Broome Senior Sergeant Brendan Barwick.

Cyclone parties — where people drink stockpiled alcohol while bunkered indoors— have been popular, but controversial, among residents during severe weather events in WA's north.

"The other big things are to secure all the items around the house and make sure your car has fuel."

Residents prepare for second cyclone in two weeks



A cyclone yellow alert was issued on Monday for people between Cape Leveque and Bidyadanga in the Kimberley — including Broome and Bidyadanga.

There is a blue alert for people between Cockatoo Island and Cape Leveque, and between Bidyadanga and Port Hedland.

Hundreds of oil and gas workers have been evacuated from the Kimberley and Pilbara coasts, while extra emergency crews have been sent to Broome from Perth.

An evacuation centre has been set up at the Broome Recreation Centre.

Residents across the west Kimberley and Pilbara are preparing for winds of up to 130 kilometres an hour and heavy rain.

The Chief Officer of Bidyadanga Tania Baxter said her community had only just cleaned up from — which hit the region December 27, 207 — when they started to prepare for this severe weather event.

"We're pretty well prepared," Ms Baxter said.

"We're not complacent, everyone is aware of it, but everyone is taking action and looking after anything that may go flying around."



Bradley Santos, the severe weather services manager for WA's Bureau of Meteorology, said residents in the Pilbara needed to be ready if the cyclone's expected path changes.

"As it moves offshore it is likely to strengthen and then start tracking toward the south toward the west Kimberley and east Pilbara coast. There is a risk of a category 3 crossing late on Thursday, or possibly Friday," he said.

"There is uncertainty in the track, there is a still a risk that the system will track parallel to the Pilbara coast and therefore will affect communities in the central and western Pilbara."

Mixed emotions as second cyclone hits



David Stoate from Anna Plains Station is in the forecast path of the cyclone. He said it felt like the calm before the storm and was battening down the hatches in preparation.

"Clean up around the homestead, tie down the sheds, make sure all the vehicles are away. It's just putting everything away that'll blow away."

Although Mr Stoate said he had mixed emotions about approaching cyclones.

"You want the rain but you don't want the damage."

"So it's just a matter of waiting and preparing as best as you can, and keeping your fingers crossed."

Anna Plains received their first rainfall for the wet season — about 75mm — from Tropical Cyclone Hilda late December.

"The bottom end of the station missed out, so hopefully that'll be corrected with this cyclone.

"It certainly looks like we'll get a fair bit more rain than we got from Hilda.

"The rains and the cyclones are always welcome so hopefully we won't get blown away and we'll just get the rainfall," he said.

Brett Blanchett of Pardoo station, 160 kilometres east of Port Hedland, said he expected some good rains will come as a result of the system.

"Pastoral cattle have actually come through the dry pretty well, you know they still look pretty good, but they're sort of looking, walking a bit further now for feed and looking for a bit of rain as we are," he said.

"So it would be pretty important for us to get something out of this one I think."


- ABC

© ABC 2018

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