Rusty creeps towards WABen Domensino, Monday February 25, 2013 - 05:24 EDT
Tropical Cyclone Rusty is slowly moving towards Australia's northwest coast, causing wind, rain and seas to increase.
Rusty became a category 1 tropical cyclone on Sunday afternoon and continues to intensify as it edges towards the Pilbara and Kimberley coasts of Western Australia.
Strong winds lashed the region on Sunday night, gusting to 79 km/h at Rowley Shoals and 76 km/h in Port Hedland before midnight. These winds will increase further today, with a cyclone warning in effect for coastal areas from Broome to Whim Creek, including Port Hedland.
The heaviest rain has so far been falling on the eastern side of the system where winds are blowing onshore. During the 24 hours to 9am on Sunday, 259mm of rain fell at Country Downs. Nearby, Broome Airport had the heaviest rain since March with 51mm.
Rainfall will become very heavy on Monday before the deluge continues into the middle of the week. Totals are likely to be heavier than those that usually accompany these systems due to the slow movement of Rusty, with significant flooding likely in the De Grey catchment and Fortescue.
Rusty is expected to become a severe tropical cyclone on Monday or Tuesday as it approaches the coast.
People in the Kimberley and Pilbara should check latest forecasts and updates at www.weatherzone.com.au
© Weatherzone 2013
More breaking news
A South Burnett landholder says a series of narrow storms flattened fences, uprooted trees and damaged infrastructure at the weekend.
A regional photographer says weekend storms brought "awe inspiring" images, but his thoughts were with the farmers who experienced massive damage.
A cold front is directing a gusty change across South Australia, whipping up dust and pre-existing fires.