CYCLONE Veronica has continued to weaken after battering the Pilbara coast with destructive wind gusts, flooding rain and dangerous tide surges over the weekend.
Veronica approached the state’s north coast over the weekend as a category four severe tropical cyclone.
The cyclone was downgraded to a category three system as it began lashing the coastline of the Pilbara region between Dampier and Port Hedland on Sunday.
Wind gusts reached 158kmh at Legendre Island, while Roebourne (154kmh) and Port Hedland (119kmh) both registered their highest gusts in six years.
As the cyclone approached, data showed tides 1.5 metres above normal tide levels at Port Hedland.
Pilbara Ports Authority confirmed the ports of Ashburton, Dampier and Port Hedland ceased all operations on Friday and remain closed.
In a statement the PPA said it would “provide an update once the situation changes and operations recommence”.
“Once the ports re-open, Pilbara Ports Authority will also provide the total number of hours each port was shut down.”
Port Hedland’s 179.4mm of rain during the 24 hours to 9am on Sunday was its heaviest March rain on record, with data available back to 1943. It was also its heaviest for any month in 30 years. By 3pm on Sunday, Port Hedland had accumulated more than 200mm of rain from the cyclone.
After skimming the Pilbara Coast between Port Hedland and Karratha on Sunday night, the eye of Tropical Cyclone Veronica was still lingering just offshore this morning.
Despite losing the bulk of its cloud, Cyclone Veronica was still a category two tropical cyclone early this morning and there was a gale force wind warning issued by the Bureau of Meteorology for Pilbara coast east and Pilbara coast west. Looking ahead, the remnants of Cyclone Veronica should continue moving towards the west on Tuesday and move out into the Indian Ocean from Wednesday.