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Weakened Narelle moves away from WA coast

Sunday January 13, 2013 - 10:10 EDT

Tropical Cyclone Narelle has been downgraded to a category three system as it moves away from the West Australian coast.

The cyclone is 350 kilometres off Exmouth and is expected to pass west of the Northwest Cape today.

At its peak, Narelle was considered a category five system but it is expected to weaken to a category one tomorrow afternoon.

Forecasters say there is only a small chance the cyclone will get close enough to the mainland to cause significant damage.

The most vulnerable town, Exmouth, has been hit with intermittent rains and wind, but so far, there has been no gale force winds.

Despite the reduced risk of dangerous weather, communities between Onslow and Coral Bay remain on blue alert.

Emergency services are urging people to remain alert, and have warned that flooding of low-lying areas is still possible with higher than usual tides expected along the west Pilbara coast.

Sergeant Ian Gilyead, from Exmouth Police, says he is pleased with the way the community has worked together to prepare for potentially dangerous weather.

"It's actually been rewarding to see how the community have got on board," he said.

"It's very good to see the community has taken it seriously and made every effort to make it easier for the SES and everyone else that's helped.

Sgt Gilyead says have arrived in the area to help out in the event the system impacts the coast.

Exmouth shop-owner Rusty Ellis says residents have stocked up and bunkered down just in case.

"Everybody's got the plan, everybody knows what to do," he said.

"Most of the local residents have been through it and done it numerous times so it's sort of like second nature to everybody."


© ABC 2013

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