Cyclone Heidi hits land in Pilbara region

Tropical Cyclone Heidi has crossed the coast of Western Australia, lashing Port Hedland with heavy rain and wild winds reaching up to 130km/h.

The category two cyclone made landfall about 4.30am WST (0730 AEDT) on Thursday, after a tense and sleepless night for locals.

Communities between Pardoo and Whim Creek, including Port and South Hedland, remain on red alert, although Heidi is expected to weaken as she moves inland.

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Noel Puzey from the WA Cyclone warning centre told Sky News that Heidi crossed the coast about 10km to the east of Port Hedland, and was moving southwards.

He said 130km/h gusts were recorded at the airport and 90mm rain had fallen before the crossing.

Wind gusts were still in the 80-90km/h range, but would weaken as Heidi moved south, he said.

Port Hedland Mayor Kelly Howlett said Heidi made her presence felt in the pre-dawn.

“We’re certainly feeling the full brunt of Cyclone Heidi as she crosses the coast,” Ms Howlett told the Nine Network.

“She’s certainly packing a little punch at the moment.”

Peter Widdup, who lives in a local caravan park, said the noise from the wind and rain overnight was “quite horrendous”.

“Everyone in the caravan park has their vans secured with chains and straps so you have no chance of flying away,” he told Sky News.

“The van still shakes and rocks.

“The noises (Heidi) was making were very, very frightening.

He said residents had plenty of warning and were well prepared.

At first light, there did not appear to be a lot of damage.

“(There’s) a few trees down, a lot of foliage about … but I haven’t ventured out the car park because we’re still on a red alert.”

Mayor Howlett has urged all residents to remain indoors until the official all clear is given.

The Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) said earlier a dangerous storm tide was predicted for coastal areas.

Port Hedland’s airport and bulk export port had shut down.

Mining firms across the region have sent home all non-essential workers.

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