Australia

Threat intensifies as Seroja barrels towards homes

A red alert has been issued for people living between Carnarvon and Kalbarri in the Midwest Gascoyne region, as tropical cyclone Seroja moves in faster than expected.

Residents living between Carnarvon and Kalbarri, not including Carnarvon or Kalbarri town sites, have been warned there is a threat to lives and homes.

The Department of Fire and Emergency Services’ alert states those residents “are in danger and need to act immediately”.

Camera IconA Red Alert is in place for people in or near Carnarvon to Kalbarri, not including Carnarvon or Kalbarri townsites due to Tropical Cyclone Seroja. Credit: DFES

DFES has advised for people to stay inside and shelter in the strongest, safest part of their house or evacuation centre.

Residents in the red alert zone should keep their emergency kits near them, stay away from doors and windows, keep them closed and stay indoors until the “all clear” is given by authorities.

The Department of Communities has set up three evacuation centres at the the Irwin Recreation Centre in Port Denison, the Carnarvon Civic Centre and at the Shark Bay Recreation Centre in Denham.

Meanwhile, manager for Kalbarri SES Steve Cable said locals were concerned that there was no evacuation centre at their town.

“The decision was made … because they (the Department of Communities) didn’t think anything was rated high enough to take people,” he told The West Australian.

“People aren’t happy and it’s something that we need to address.

“That decision was made outside of our control but … we’ll have to try address that in the future.”

Mr Cable said he was bracing for Kalbarri to be issued a red alert about midday but the impact the cyclone may have was unclear.

“It’s unprecedented for this town and the real danger is, of course, the town is not cyclone rated … the infrastructure is not built for cyclone conditions so this is a big concern,” he said.

“From midday on obviously the town will be on lockdown and then it’s a waiting game.”

Kalbarri resident and single mother-of-two Rebecca Bond had transformed her bathroom into an emergency shelter.

Ms Bond, who is originally from Cairns, said it was concerning that there was no evacuation centre set up in town.

I’ve been told most new and old homes are not cyclone approved, so very shocked there is no shelter or emergency point.

“I’ve been told most new and old homes are not cyclone approved, so very shocked there is no shelter or emergency point,” she told The West Australian.

“We went through (Cyclone) Larry in 2006 … we know the risks … and everyone needs to take this seriously.”

The Bureau of Meteorology has advised that Cyclone Seroja is moving rapidly towards the southeast, approaching the west coast of WA and will begin impacting coastal communities this afternoon.

Gales with gusts to 100km per hour are likely to develop in an area between Minilya Roadhouse and Kalbarri this afternoon.

Seroja is expected to intensify, possibly reaching Severe Category 3 intensity as it accelerates south-eastwards towards the coast.

It is likely weaken to Category 2 prior to crossing the coast, though a Severe Category 3 impact remains a slight risk.

Significant impacts are expected to extend well inland from the coast through to Wheatbelt communities during Sunday night.

BOM has also warned abnormally high tides could cause minor inundation at the coast between Coral Bay and Lancelin, increasing to serious flooding in the Denham and Shark Bay region and near Kalbarri.

Dangerous surf and beach erosion is expected between Denham and Geraldton.

File source

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