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Kalbarri couple forced to hide in pantry during storm

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Kalbarri residents felt the full brunt of Tropical Cyclone Seroja around 7.30 tonight, with many forced to take cover in their battered homes.

The extreme weather event reached the town at a category 3 severity, cutting power to over 1000 residents.

Destructive wind gusts of up to 165km/h reached the town — with some residents taking to social media to share their stories.

Jason Regan was locked in his pantry with his five-months-pregnant wife and dog when he heard a few “loud bangs” and windows smashing as the cyclone unleashed on the town.

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“We’re in our pantry for the night, it’s the size of a small toilet so it’s pretty small but at least we have food,” Mr Regan said.

“I heard a few windows smash and some loud bangs. I went upstairs to check and felt that it was raining, I didn’t look up but I’m guessing I have lost some of my roof.”

Camera IconRAC Monkey Mia resort has had part of its roof blown off, as tropical cyclone Seroja barrages the coast.
Cyclone Seroja off the WA coast.
Camera IconCyclone Seroja off the WA coast. Credit: JMA/supplied

Not letting the destructive winds crush his mood, Mr Regan remained hopeful and in high-spirits.

“This cyclone is a beauty. We have no power and we can’t go anywhere, I think we really underestimated how bad she would be,” he said.

“The SES vollies are doing such an amazing job. They are very dedicated, hard working people and we are all very grateful at how much time and effort they are putting in to help us all.

“It’s getting pretty bad out here but we don’t want to call them to come help us because it puts their lives in danger.”

Mr Regan said even if Kalbarri had an evacuation centre, he probably wouldn’t go.

A photo showing near zero visibility near the storm.
Camera IconA photo showing near zero visibility near the storm. Credit: @HighOnNihilism/twitter/supplied
Premier Mark McGowan and police commissioner Chris Dawson receive an update on tropical cyclone Seroja from DFES commissioner Darren Klemm at the DFES State Operations Centre.
Camera IconPremier Mark McGowan and police commissioner Chris Dawson receive an update on tropical cyclone Seroja from DFES commissioner Darren Klemm at the DFES State Operations Centre. Credit: Nic Ellis/The West Australian

“I don’t think many of us would have at the time. We all wanted to stay and defend our homes anyway. Now that she’s hit I’m guessing a lot of people would like an evac centre,” he said.

Other residents have taken to Facebook to update the town on the destruction.

Another resident said she “doesn’t have a house upstairs anymore” and was trapped inside her downstairs bathroom.

One resident said her dad’s home had been completely destroyed and he was stuck inside his bathroom until the SES could safely get to him.

There is a cyclone RED ALERT on place for the area south of Carnarvon to Lancelin, including the City of Greater Geraldton and the Shires of Carnamah, Coorow, Chapman Valley, Dandaragan, Dalwallinu, Irwin, Mingenew, Morawa, Northampton, Perenjori, Shark Bay and Three Springs in the Midwest Gascoyne

There is a threat to lives and homes. You are in danger and need to act immediately.

WHAT TO DO:

DFES advises:

  • Stay inside and shelter in the strongest, safest part of your house or evacuation centre.
  • Keep your emergency kit with you.
  • Stay away from doors and windows, and keep them closed.
  • Stay indoors until the ALL CLEAR is given by authorities.

There is a cyclone YELLOW ALERT in place for people between the Minilya Roadhouse to Carnarvon in the Midwest Gascoyne

There is a possible threat to lives and homes as a cyclone is approaching the area.

You need to take action and get ready to shelter from a cyclone.WHAT TO DO:

DFES advises:

  • Put your cyclone plan into action and go to your nearest evacuation centre or safer place if safe to do so.
  • Move vehicles under cover.
  • Fasten cyclone screens, board up or heavily tape exposed windows.
  • Ensure pets and animals are in a safe area.
  • Be aware that shops may now be closing.

For more information visit www.emergency.wa.gov.au, phone 13 DFES (13 3337), follow DFES on Twitter: twitter.com/dfes_wa, Facebook: facebook.com/dfeswa/, or listen to ABC Local Radio, or news bulletins.

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