A severe coastal impact is still likely as Cyclone Veronica continues to head for the Pilbara.
At 12pm the cyclone remains a category 4 with sustained winds near the centre of 175km/h with wind gusts to 250km/h.
Very destructive winds with gusts in excess of 165km/h are possible near the cyclone centre as it approaches the coast on Saturday night and into Sunday.
The very dangerous storm tide is also still possible with tides likely to rise significantly above the normal high tide mark with damaging waves and very dangerous coastal inundation.
A blue alert remains in place from Pardoo to Mardie, whilst the watch zone has extended to the inland Pilbara including Pannawonica and Marble Bar, as well as from Wallal Downs to Pardoo and Mardie to Onslow.
Speaking to Spirit Radio, Department of Fire and Emergency Services superintendent Peter McCarthy said the category 4 cyclone was a very dangerous system which would severely impact the community.
“Over the next day or so it will go southerly, pretty much straight towards the Karratha, Wickham, Dampier area,” he said.
“Once the red alert comes on everything needs to go in to lock down, so if you’re planning on leaving the area, it needs to happen today as tomorrow might be a bit of a rough day to get out.”
“We’ll be releasing some information on what areas might be more effected by the storm surge, but all area in the warning zone should be expecting power outages.”
“I’d discourage cyclone parties, we want people to be alert and ready to react.”
The WA Country Health Service is urging anyone with pre-existing medical conditions to prepare and have a cyclone plan in place, including sufficient medication.
Once a red alert is notified, Hedland and Karratha Health Campuses and Onslow Health Service will continue to operate while Roebourne Hospital will close.
Pilbara Ports Authority has cleared all large commercial vessels from the harbours and anchorages at the Ports of Dampier, Port Hedland and Ashburton.
The evacuation centre in Karratha is the Lesiureplex and in Port Hedland it is at the JD Hardie Centre, but Mr McCarthy encouraged people to have a friend of family member they can go to first.
“It’s really important to look out for friends and family and give those that aren’t as well prepared a hand,” he said.
The Town of Port Hedland Civic Centre and depot no longer have any sandbags remaining, but the Hedland State Emergency Service will have sandbags available from tomorrow morning.
In Karratha, sandbags are available from the SES on Balmoral Road and can be filled with sand at the BMX track on Rosemary Road.