Thursday, March 08, 2007

Old haunts flattened? (Cyclone George)

Looks like Port Hedland, Western Australia, is about to get hit head-on by a major cyclone, and Marble Bar just afterwards..this blogger has the last dispatch.
Media: Transmitters serving the area between Dampier and Sandfire Roadhouse are
requested to sound the Standard Emergency Warning Signal before broadcasting the
following warning.


Issued at 9:05 pm WDT on Thursday, 8 March 2007

A CYCLONE WARNING for a SEVERE CATEGORY 4 cyclone is now current for coastal
areas from Dampier to Sandfire Roadhouse and inland to Tom Price, Newman,
Paraburdoo, Marble Bar and Nullagine.

At 9:00 pm WDT Severe Tropical Cyclone George was estimated to be
70 kilometres northeast of Port Hedland and
55 kilometres west northwest of Pardoo
and moving south at 20 kilometres per hour.

Severe Tropical Cyclone George is approaching the coast near Port Hedland. On the current movement the cyclone is likely to cross the coast between Port Hedland and Pardoo within the next few hours. Recent observations at Bedout Island indicate gusts to 275 kilometres per hour are occurring near the centre of the cyclone.

VERY DESTRUCTIVE winds with gusts to 275 kilometres per hour [170 mph] will be experienced close to the cyclone centre as the system crosses the coast.

DESTRUCTIVE winds with gusts to 170 kilometres per hour [105 mph] have developed on the central Pilbara coast between Port Hedland and Pardoo, and will extend inland with the cyclone centre.

GALES with wind gusts to 120 kilometres per hour are expected through the remaining parts of the warning area overnight and tomorrow.

WIDESPREAD HEAVY RAIN and FLOODING are likely across the Pilbara, with falls in
excess of 200 millimetres possible close to the cyclone track.

DANGEROUSLY HIGH TIDES could cause EXTENSIVE FLOODING at the coast between
Sandfire Roadhouse and Whim Creek.

Residents on the coast between Sandfire Roadhouse and Whim Creek including Port Hedland, are specifically warned of the potential of a VERY DANGEROUS STORM TIDE as the cyclone crosses the coast. On the current track Port Hedland is specifically under threat. Tides are likely to rise significantly above the normal high tide mark with very dangerous flooding and damaging waves.

Details of Severe Tropical Cyclone George at 9:05 pm WDT.

Location of centre : within 35 kilometres of
latitude 19.9 south longitude 119.1 east
Recent movement : south at 20 kilometres per hour
Central Pressure : 910 hectopascals
Maximum wind gusts : 275 kilometres per hour near the centre.
Severity category : 4

FESA-State Emergency Service advises of the following alerts.
RED ALERT: People in or near coastal communities of Port Hedland, Whim Creek, Pardoo, Marble Bar and Nullagine should move to shelter.
YELLOW ALERT: People in or near coastal communities between Sandfire Roadhouse and Dampier including Roebourne, Wickham, Karratha, Point Samson, Dampier and in or near the inland communities of Tom Price, Pannawonica and Paraburdoo should be taking action in readiness for the cyclone's impact.
Hell fire. I worked near the Bar, Corunna Downs station, in the autumn of 1998 - now doesn't that feel like a long time ago? - and I remember a few cyclone alerts that didn't materialise.

But this one is going all the way to Baghdad. C-Downs is about 40 km East of the central track, the Bar a bit closer, but certainly close enough. Port Hedland is going to get hit like a hammer, though: here's the view from the weather radar there. TCWC Perth tracker is here.

God, there's a place with some evil pubs, right on the dockside where the 300,000 ton ore carriers growl by. Tonight, that's *not* the place to be. After all, seas within 20 miles of the eyes are officially phenomenal. Ah, that's the spirit all right.

Blogs: here, and here, and there's always 'Rati. I hope everyone's all right.

Update: It's ashore, 25 kms east of Hedland, Cat-4. Latest bulletin says it's going to pass "close" to the Bar at Cat-3 or Cat-4. Scienceblogs's Chris Mooney blogs.

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