Rare tropical cyclone to make landfall in Western Australia

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Western Australia is bracing for Tropical Cyclone Seroja, which is set to make landfall on Sunday evening.

Seroja is expected to bring widespread impacts across the region Sunday evening local time and overnight as it progresses southeastward over land.

Tropical cyclones impact the northern coast of Australia every year. However, the central coast and south-central coast of Western Australia do not see tropical cyclones as frequently, especially with the strength of Seroja.

Seroja early Sunday had winds around 110 kph, which is equivalent to a high-end tropical storm in the Atlantic Ocean. The storm is expected to strengthen as it accelerates toward the coast and could reach 120 kph (75 mph), which is equivalent to a minimal Category 1 hurricane in the Atlantic.

“A short period of intensification is forecast over the next 12 hours as the system moves into a more favorable shear environment,” the Joint Typhoon Warning Center cautioned on its website.

The Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) in Australia has issued a hurricane-force wind warning for the Gascoyne Coast. Storm-force wind warnings were issued for Ningaloo Coast and Geraldton Coast.

“People on the coast between Coral Bay and Lancelin should prepare now for a period of destructive winds that could cause significant damage to homes and property, and heavy rain that could lead to flash flooding,” the Bureau of Meteorology warned in a tropical cyclone watch issued Friday.

Residents along the western coast should also be prepared for dangerous surf, coastal erosion and storm surge.

It has been more than five years since this area of West Australia has had impacts from a tropical system

In 2015, Tropical Cyclone Olwyn brought heavy rain and strong winds to many of the same areas expected to see impacts from Seroja.