Tropical Rainstorm Veronica continues to inundate Australia's Pilbara Coast with life-threatening flooding

By Kristina Pydynowski, AccuWeather senior meteorologist
By Adam Douty, AccuWeather senior meteorologist
March 25, 2019, 7:38:22 PM EDT

Lives and property will remain in severe peril through early this week along the northwestern coastline of Western Australia as Tropical Rainstorm Veronica slows down and unloads extreme rainfall.

Veronica is part of a one-two strike of tropical cyclones on Australia. Trevor first slammed into northeastern Northern Territory on Saturday.

Veronica will follow with inundating rainfall along the Pilbara Coast through Monday, local time.

Despite not making landfall, residents living in low-lying areas between the Port Hedland and Pretty Pool were being urged to evacuate, according to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC). This includes the suburb of Wedgefield.

Areas near and along Veronica's track will be at risk for major flooding and destructive winds. A life-threatening storm surge can inundate coastal communities near and east of where Veronica tracks.

Wind gusts can cause damage to well-built homes and down many trees. Coastal communities can be left without electricity or water for several days or weeks after the cyclone.

A wind gust to 118 km/h (74 mph) was observed at Port Hedland on Sunday morning.

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Veronica will also unload torrential and flooding rain.

Since beginning on Saturday, 213 mm (8.39 inches) of rain has fallen in Port Hedland. This is over four times their normal March rainfall and nearly 70 percent of normal yearly rainfall.

Veronica's movement has slowed significantly since nearing the coast which will prolong heavy rainfall.

Extreme rainfall totals of 250-500 mm (10-20 inches), with an AccuWeather Local StormMax™ of 760 mm (30 inches), can spread from Balla Balla and Port Hedland to Marble Bar into Monday.

Veronica Sat

Satellite image of Veronica approaching landfall on Saturday night, local time. Source: Australian Bureau of Meteorology

Widespread major flooding may result in communities and roads being put underwater. Residents should heed all warnings by officials.

As homes become submerged in the hardest-hit flood areas, crews will need boats and helicopters to get residents to safety.

Remember never to drive or walk through flood waters. It takes only 150 mm (6 inches) and 300 mm (12 inches) of fast-flowing water to sweep, respectively, a person and most vehicles away.

Inundating seas will also continue to keep pounding the coastline just east of Veronica's through Monday.

Download the free AccuWeather app to remain aware of any tropical dangers in your community.

Despite unloading torrential rain where it stalls, Veronica should begin to rapidly weaken in terms of damaging winds by Monday. The cyclone will drift westward with just scattered showers and thunderstorms lasting into Tuesday.

By midweek, drier weather will grace the Pilbara Coast for rescue and recovery efforts.

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