Tropical Cyclone Veronica remains a Category 4 storm as of 05:50 (local time) on Friday, March 22, and is continuing to move towards the Pilbara coast in Western Australia. The storm is currently located approximately 350 km (217 mi) north of Karratha and is expected to make landfall on the morning of Sunday, March 24. As of Friday morning, Veronica has sustained winds of 185 kph (115 mph) with wind gusts up to 260 kph (162 mph) and may remain as a Category 4 storm when it hits the coast. Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology has declared a warning zone from Pardoo to Mardie and is asking residents to prepare for cyclonic weather. A watch zone is also in effect from Wallal Downs to Pardoo, Mardie to Onslow, and inland Pilbara including Pannawonica, Tom Price, and Marble Bar. No evacuation orders have been issued as of Friday morning, but residents may be asked to leave as the storm moves closer to the coast.
Veronica is expected to bring heavy rains that will result in major flooding along the Pilbara coast. Authorities have also warned of very destructive winds with gusts exceeding 165 kph (103 mph) near the center of the storm. The cyclone is also expected to cause very dangerous storm tide along the coast along with damaging waves. Consequent flooding, power outages, and transportation disruptions are possible along the Pilbara coast in the coming days.
Individuals in Western Australia are advised to monitor local weather reports, anticipate severe weather and associated disruptions, including road closures and power outages, and adhere to instructions issued by local authorities.
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