| 12.04,21. 01:24 PM |
More than 20,000 without power as Cyclone Seroja lashes WA
As many as 20,000 residents of Geraldton are without power after Cyclone Seroja made landfall in Western Australia overnight.
The fast-moving storm crossed onto land at Kalbarri with wind gusts up to 170km/h before continuing southeastwards towards Geraldton about 9pm (11pm AEST).
More than 167mm of rain was dumped over the area in just 12 hours, prompting authorities to warn of flash flooding.
Residents are just awaking to the damage now as first light breaks across the state.
Commissioner Darren Klemm from the Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES) told Today a "Red Alert" is still in place across the affected area.
"We have had a significant number of calls both to the 13 DFES number and to Triple Zero. We haven't had crews out and about last night because of the red alert. The red alert is still in place," Mr Klemm said.
"We are asking people in those communities to stay in their homes until we give the all clear to go out.
"As you can imagine we have powerlines down and significant road damage through trees falling over and the like."
Mr Klemm said it appears Kalbarri, where the cyclone first made landfall, was hit hardest.
"We've received this morning reports of damage all the way from Carnarvon almost total damage to the jetty there in Carnarvon. Down to Kalbarri, appears at this point in time to be hit the hardest," Mr Klemm said.
"Horrocks south of Kalbarri has received damage and parts of Geraldton and Mullewa and other towns have reported around significant roof damage and resultant water ingress that occurs."
'Absolutely smashed': Moment cyclone made landfall in Kalbarri
In Kalbarri where the cyclone first hit, 9News Perth reporter Darius Winterfield said the roof had been ripped off his balcony before he retreated to the back of the apartment for fear of the glass doors smashing.
"Water is flooding in through the windows and the main roof is rattling very loudly ... we've lost power and have little phone reception, we are considering options if the roof goes," Winterfield said.
"My fears for the rest of Kalbarri tonight, Cylone Seroja has hit hard."
Just after 9pm he said it felt like the worst had passed Kalbarri.
"I can hear alarms going off all around us and poked my head out the balcony, can already see a few shacks that have been absolutely smashed. This will be devastating for many come first light."
Red alerts were issued for multiple towns along the coast, telling people in the path of the storm "to go to shelter immediately".
The red alerts were for people in or near Carnarvon to Lancelin, including the Shires of Shark Bay, Northampton, Chapman Valley, Morawa, City of Greater Geraldton, Mingenew, Three Springs, Perenjori, Irwin and the townsites Coorow and Carnamah.