Carnarvon evacuation centre open as ex-tropical cyclone Lincoln brings damaging winds and potential flooding

Jessica MoroneyGeraldton Guardian
Department of Fire and Emergency Services Commissioner Darren Klemm.
Camera IconDepartment of Fire and Emergency Services Commissioner Darren Klemm. Credit: Michael Wilson/The West Australian

The cyclone alert for coastal communities in WA’s north has been upgraded from blue to yellow as emergency services mobilise for possible devastation.

Travellers and campers south of Exmouth are being urged to leave now as ex-tropical cyclone Lincoln is expected to bring damaging winds, heavy rainfall and potential flooding to the Upper Gascoyne.

The yellow alert is in force for people in or nearby coastal communities and offshore islands between North West Cape, Coral Bay and Giralia — including Exmouth.

“There is a possible threat to lives and homes as a cyclone is approaching the area,” the Department of Fire and Emergency Services said.

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Communities in the upper Gascoyne are urged to prepare for dangerous weather at the weekend as ex-tropical cyclone Lincoln makes it’s way across the coast.

Two evacuation centres have now been opened in preparation, one at Carnarvon Civic Centre and another at Exmouth Shire Hall.

A blue alert is in force south of Onslow to Overlander Roadhouse in Hamelin Pool, taking in the communities of Shark Bay, Minilya, Carnarvon and Dirk Hartog Island.

Bureau of Meteorology WA manager for hazard preparedness and response James Ashley said ex-tropical cyclone Lincoln would redevelop into a tropical cyclone at the weekend, bringing dangerous winds and heavy rainfall to the State’s upper west coast as it moves away from the Pilbara.

News. Press Conference. Update on the Kimberley flooding event at the Emergency Services Complex in Cockburn Central.  
WA Manager Bureau of Meteorology James Ashley.
Camera IconResponse James Ashley said ex-tropical cyclone Lincoln would redevelop into a tropical cyclone at the weekend. Credit: Jackson Flindell/The West Australian

As at Friday, 12pm, Mr Ashley told reporters the cyclone was well to the north of Onslow and Exmouth areas, and was predicted to track west to south west before turning in a southerly direction later on Friday.

The system’s predicted path will travel towards the west of Exmouth on Saturday morning and head towards the Gascoyne coast in the afternoon, with a possible a coastal crossing around Coral Bay and Carnarvon in the late evening.

“The current forecast is for this to be as a Category 1 or 2 system in that area and a severe tropical cyclone impact is increasingly unlikely,” Mr Ashley said.

“While the system crossing location and intensity remains uncertain, a period of stronger winds and heavy rainfall should be expected in coastal areas.

“General increase in rainfall is expected across western and southern parts of the state as the system moves southwards, bringing much needed rainfall to areas that have had a long, hot and dry summer so far.”

Department of Fire and Emergency Services Commissioner Darren Klemm said although the risk had reduced for Exmouth, additional DFES personnel, equipment and vehicles were on the ground if the situation changes.

Fire and Emergency Services Commissioner Darren Klemm provides an update on ex-Tropical Cyclone Lincoln which could reform into a Tropical Cyclone and cross the west Pilbara or upper Gascoyne coastline on Saturday.
Camera IconDepartment of Fire and Emergency Services Commissioner Darren Klemm. Credit: Michael Wilson/The West Australian

He said 28 extra personnel arrived in the Pilbara and Gascoyne and another 20 will arrive later today, including State Emergency Services, incident management personnel, urban search and career fire and rescue crews.

Mr Klemm warned tourists and caravanners to leave the warning area for their own safety.

“People camping around Shark Bay and Denham, in fact everywhere south of Exmouth, should consider relocating now,” he said.

Due to possible flash flooding near the track of the system, roads will close north and south of Carnarvon and within the Shark Bay area on Saturday.

North West Coastal Highway between Carnarvon Road and Nanutarra Roadhouse will close southbound from 7am and northbound from 12pm and from Kalbarri-Ajana East Road to Carnarvon Road northbound from 7am and southbound from 12pm.

Carnarvon Road, Coral Bay Road, Burkett Road, Minilya-Exmouth Road, Shark Bay Road and Monkey Mia Road will see closures at various times.

Mr Klemm said strong winds and potential heavy rainfall will mean conditions will not be safe.

“Community members are urged to finalise property preparation emergency kits today. This includes securing lose items around your home, stocking up on extra food and water and making sure you have essential items like a battery operated radio.”

For more information, visit emergency.wa.gov.au

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