Very destructive winds, with gusts of up to 230km/h, are expected to hit Western Australia’s northern coast when a severe tropical cyclone smashes the state on Saturday afternoon.
Severe Tropical Cyclone Damien was estimated to be 115 kilometres north west of Karratha at 9am and moving south.
It is expected to worsen to a category four storm when it hits landfall around Dampier.
Damien is forecast to hit De Grey to Onslow, including Port Hedland, Karratha, Dampier, Pannawonica, Barrow Island and extend to Tom Price and Paraburdoo.
Residents between Dampier and Pardoo Roadhouse have been warned of the potential for a very dangerous storm tide.
A cyclone warning is in place for Port Hedland to Onslow, including Karratha, Dampier, Pannawonica and Barrow Island, but not including Port Hedland, and extending to adjacent inland parts to include Tom Price, Newman and Paraburdoo.
A watch warning is in place for inland central Pilbara and northeast Gascoyne, including Mount Augustus.
Tides are expected to rise above the normal high tide mark causing damaging waves and very dangerous flooding.
Heavy rain is expected to cause flooding in the Pilbara and Gascoyne regions, with flood warnings in place for Pilbara Coastal Rivers and Fortescue River.
People in or near Whim Creek to Mardie and south to Millstream are being told to seek shelter immediately.
The category three cyclone currently has winds of 140km/h near its centre, with gusts up to 195km/h, the Bureau of Meteorology says.
Gales are currently lashing the central Pilbara coast and are expected to inland and extend into Onslow on Saturday afternoon.
There are five tropical cyclone categories based on wind speeds, with the first including those between 90-124km/h while the highest is for wind storms surpassing 280km/h.
Residents on Western Australia’s northern coast have begun sharing videos of the torrential downpour and the lashing winds sweeping in.
Footage from Karratha shows winds violently whipping trees back and forth as a dreary fog smothers the skyline.
This is the third cyclone of the season off the WA coast.