CANBERRA: Australian authorities have issued a red alert cyclone warning for Western Australia (WA) state.
Tropical cyclone Kelvin made landfall on Sunday morning, bringing with it winds of up to 250 km per hour (kmph).
In a warning issued on Sunday, the Department of Fire and Emergency Services told residents of northern WA that they were “in danger and need to act immediately.”
“There is a possible threat to lives and homes as a cyclone is approaching the area,” it said.
Residents of the Pilbara and Kimberley regions were told to remain in the safest parts of their house, away from windows, or stay in evacuation centers.
Further south, a yellow alert was put in place warning of winds up to 150 kph until mid-afternoon on Sunday.
Heavy rainfall was also expected to come with the storm with the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) warning that there was a high chance of flooding.
“I think we’ve already seen one of the strongest impacts of this system that Tropical Cyclone Kelvin will have — is the rainfall we’ve seen in Broome,” BOM senior forecaster Andrew Burton told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) on Sunday.
“We’ve had 370.6 millimetres up to 9:00 a.m. (Saturday) and that rainfall is continuing, so they look like they’re on track to get to their wettest year ever.”
The deluge has forced the closure of some roads with more to follow, including major arterial roads and highways which are the only way to access some towns by car.
“From a flooding perspective, it’s a bit of a perfect storm,” Main Roads regional manager Andrew Pyke said.
“We’ve got a lot of water sitting on the Roebuck plains area now and a lot of water happened in the last 24 to 48 hours in the Broome area, and there is more water coming down with the passing of this cyclone.”
“It is quite difficult. There have certainly been significant damages of some roads in the Kimberley with the water that’s flowed over the roads. We are very concerned,” said Pyke.