Roofs have been damaged, trees have fallen and some residents remain without power after Tropical Cyclone Christine tore through WA’s Pilbara region.
Tropical Cyclone Christine has been downgraded to a category one system as it continues to sweep inland through Western Australia, leaving behind largely superficial damage to trees, fences and roofs.
Christine crossed the Pilbara coast between Whim Creek and Roebourne at about midnight on Monday as a category-three cyclone, but the system was weakening as it tracked southeast into the Gascoyne region.
The Bureau of Meteorology estimated at 2pm on Tuesday that the cyclone was 315km south of Karratha and 45km southwest of Paraburdoo, and moving southeast at 26km/h.
Roebourne councillor Robin Vandenberg said many trees had fallen but there was no significant structural damage.
“Looking at the area around us from the front yard, it’s all just superficial damage,” he told AAP on Tuesday.
Mr Vandenberg said on a scale of one to 10, he would rate the cyclone as a seven in severity.
“It’s not the worst I’ve experienced, but it’s not at the low end either,” he said.
Mr Vandenberg has lived in his house for 30 years and said the older buildings had stood the test of time against cyclones, while some of the newer buildings had suffered leaks.
“We have a big patio at the front and back and there were some roars because of the tin but nothing came off,” he said.
A red alert remains in place for people in or near Tom Price and Paraburdoo, where residents have been warned to stay indoors and away from doors and windows.
A blue alert is current for people in or near Newman and inland to the Collier Ranges and Three Rivers including Kumarina and east to Granite Peak and southwest to Wiluna.
The all-clear has been given for people between De Grey and Mardie including Marble Bar, Port Hedland, South Hedland, Whim Creek, Roebourne, Wickham, Point Samson, Karratha, Dampier and Pannawonica.
Damaging winds with gusts up to 120km/h are still possible near the cyclone centre and flood warnings have been issued.
Severe winds are likely to continue on the northeastern side of the system during Wednesday as it moves quickly across southeastern WA, the bureau says.
A spokeswoman for the Port Hedland Port Authority said work had begun on assessing any storm damage at the port.
“Initial assessments indicate only minor storm damage to some of the port infrastructure, with one small craft sunk and located off her mooring,” she said.
Further surveys of the channel and beacons were being conducted, with the return of vessels to the inner anchorage already underway.
Australia’s biggest iron ore miners – Rio Tinto, BHP Billiton and Fortescue Metals Group – are also assessing the impact of the cyclone on their operations.
A Rio Tinto spokesman said the company’s coastal and West Pilbara operations remained closed.
State Emergency Services (SES) volunteers have had more than 56 calls related to roof damage, broken fences, fallen trees and flooding.
Horizon Power says about 7000 homes are without electricity in Roebourne, Karratha and Point Samson.
More than 25 customers are also without power in the Port Hedland area, and there are damaged transmission lines in Karratha, Roebourne and Port Hedland.