Cyclone Blake lashes WA’s Kimberley and Pilbara regions

Glenn Cordingley, Caitlyn Rintoul and Sam JonesThe West Australian
Cyclone Blake update.
Camera IconCyclone Blake update. Credit: 7NEWS

Tropical Cyclone Blake is expected to reach a category two overnight and could see the west Kimberley coast drenched in 200mm of rainfall.

The firing line has been estimated as 150km north of Broome and 285km west-southwest of Kuri Bay, according to the Bureau of Meteorology.

Department of Fire and Emergency Services raised the danger level to a Yellow Alert at 3.20pm on Monday, urging people in the region to take action and get ready to shelter from the cyclone.

Moving southeast at 12 kilometres per hour on Monday morning to midday, Cyclone Blake is tipped to reach destructive winds 125 km/h.

Flood warnings have been put in place across the Kimberley and Pilbara.

An evacuation shelter has been opened at Broome Recreation and Aquatic Centre, located along Cable Beach Road East.

DFES Kimberley district officer Glenn Hall said the shelter will be open overnight and reminded the community there was a risk into tomorrow.

“The expectation is we will move into a red alert,” he said.

“The risk of damaging winds is advised to abate into mid to late [Tuesday], which we will revisit when we issue an all clear with caution.

“The expectation is when the public wake up tomorrow the area will be on red alert, the fact the shops are open now provides every opportunity for people to fuel their car, fill their food stock, make sure their emergency kit is ready and their car is full of fuel.

“If people have got alternative accommodation, I encourage they seek that, the fewer people in the evacuation centre the better, but the facility is open for those who require it.”

Cyclone Blake update.
Camera IconCyclone Blake update. Credit: 7NEWS

Blake marks the first for the Australian cyclone season and is expected to track south through the Pilbara before then take a south easterly line across the Goldfields and the interior.

Already, Cape Cygnet has been hit with 183mm in just 24 hours. With the storm expected to intensify Broome, Bidyadanga and Wallal Downs are likely to bare the full brunt of its power.

The Bureau of Meteorology’s Neil Bennett said the cyclone’s expected path would take it into WA’s southeast and close to the fires which continue to burn.

“On Wednesday there is the likelihood of some thunderstorm activity and we expect to see some rainfall,” Mr Bennett said.

“This is a dangerous system. All tropical cyclones are dangerous.”

In Broome, the local government has placed sand bags in flood prone spots and removed shade sails from recreational areas.

Shire director of infrastructure Andrew Graffen all preparedness measures were in place and facilities secured.

Mr Graffen said drains had been inspected and maintained in preparation for impending weather.

He said all unsealed local roads were currently closed, along with the local tip and would be re-assessed once the all clear was given.

All boat ramps in the were also off limits and flights were yesterday cancelled as rain and strong winds hammered the town.

Cyclone Blake update.
Camera IconCyclone Blake update. Credit: 7NEWS

The Great Northern Highway between the Broome Road and Marble Bar intersections was closed from 6pm and is expected to be reopen when the cyclone risk passes.

The unsealed section of Broome Cape Leveque Road was also shut in both directions yesterday and a flood warning was issued for the Gibb River Road between the Blina and Kalumburu turnoffs.

The Department of Fire and Emergency Services issued a flood watch for parts of the West Kimberley yesterday and expected water to be fast flowing with quick rises in levels.

Broome Officer in Charge Les Andrews said regional police had been preparing for a potential cyclone for a number of days.

“As usual, we will have staff rostered on 24 hours a day, seven days a week and should we lose electricity our generator will give us full capacity back-up power for about four days,” he said.

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