29 Dec 2013

Port Hedland evacuated due to cyclone

12:58 pm on 29 December 2013

Ships began moving from Port Hedland in Western Australia before the expected arrival of a tropical cyclone on Saturday night.

The Port Hedland Port Authority began the evacuation of 29 vessels in the inner and outer anchorage areas on Saturday morning. AAP reports another 12 ships in the inner harbour also began evacuating.

In a statement the port said it anticipated the last vessel would leave the shipping channel by 3am on Sunday.

AAP reports gale-force winds and widespread rain are expected to hit the Port Hedland area on Sunday.

Winds with gusts of up to 100km/h were forecast to develop through Saturday night on the west Kimberley coast between Cape Leveque and Broome.

The Bureau of Meteorology said gales and heavy rainfall may extend to Exmouth and adjacent inland areas on Sunday night and Monday.

AAP reports that if the tropical low system develops as the bureau expects, a severe tropical cyclone will likely hit the Pilbara on Monday or Tuesday.

A cyclone warning is in place for coastal areas from Cape Leveque to Whim Creek.

Port Hedland mayor Kelly Howlett says she's confident the area will be as well prepared as it can be.