Residents along Pilbara's coast have been warned to prepare for heavy rain and destructive winds from Friday, as Western Australia's first cyclone of the season bears down.
The Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) is predicting a tropical low, currently tracking parallel to the Kimberley coast, will intensify into a severe cyclone on Thursday before heading towards the east Pilbara coast.
"As it moves towards the east Pilbara coast it'll continue to develop, and at this stage, we're expecting it to reach category 3 intensity and most likely cross somewhere in the vicinity of Port Hedland on Saturday," BOM duty forecaster Luke Huntington said.
"A category 3 has wind gusts of around 170 kilometres an hour, so it packs quite a punch.
"There'll be some heavy rainfall associated with it as well — we're looking at totals in the hundreds of millimetres, especially along coastal areas, but even through inland parts of the Pilbara."
Despite computer models currently pointing to a coastal crossing near Port Hedland, Mr Huntington said communities right along the Pilbara coast should prepare.
"These systems are very unpredictable. There are a range of tracks that are still possible — it could go further west towards Karratha.
"So even communities as far west as Karratha should prepare and tie down loose items."
The cyclone, to be named Lucas, will be the first to impact the WA mainland this season.
Cyclone Joshua, which formed on Saturday, was the first system in the western region but it stayed offshore in the Indian Ocean, near the Cocos Islands.
The last severe cyclone to impact the Pilbara was Tropical Cyclone Damien in February last year.
It brought flooding rains and gale force winds to the region, causing damage to property, vegetation and Karratha Airport.ABC