A tropical low system off the coast of western Kimberley region (Western Australia) is expected to intensify in the coming hours and become Tropical Cyclone Kelvin on Saturday, February 17. According to the Australian Bureau of Meteorology, the storm is forecast to strike the coast of eastern Pilbara region or far western Kimberley coast as a Category 2 cyclone (indicating a cyclone with maximum sustained winds of 89-117 km/h [55-72 mph]) on Sunday, February 18.
As of 05:00 (local time) on Saturday, the tropical low was located approximately 85 km (53 mi) west-southwest of Bidyadanga and 170 km (106 mi) southwest of Broome, packing maximum sustained winds of 65 km/h (40 mph) and moving southward at 13 km/h (8 mph). Gusts of up to 100 km/h (62 mph) are possible between Bidyadanga and Pardoo Roadhouse on Saturday, potentially intensifying up to 150 km/h (93 mph) by Saturday evening. Ongoing associated heavy rains and flooding have prompted authorities to issue flood warnings for North Kimberley and West Kimberley districts on Friday, February 16; flood watches are also in effect in the Kimberley district and North Pilbara district catchments. The abovementioned flood warnings and watches are still in effect as of Saturday morning.
Heavy rains and associated flooding and transportation disruptions are expected in the coming days in the affected areas of Western Australia. Authorities have cautioned residents between Cape Leveque and DeGrey (including Broome and Bidyadanga) to prepare for severe cyclone-related weather in the coming hours.
The Australian cyclone season typically lasts from November to April.
Individuals present in Western Australia are advised to monitor local weather reports and adhere to any instructions issued by the local authorities. Remember that driving or walking through running water can be dangerous - 15 cm (6 in) of running water is enough to knock over an adult - and that floodwater may contain wastewater or chemical products; all items having come into contact with the water should be disinfected and all foodstuffs discarded.
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