12 Apr 2021

Tropical Cyclone Seroja makes landfall in Western Australia

2:00 pm on 12 April 2021

Tropical cyclone Seroja has hit the coast of Western Australia, leaving a trail of damage.

The category three storm made landfall near the town of Kalbarri on Sunday night, with gusts of up to 170km/h reported.

It later weakened to a category two system, but the Bureau of Meteorology warned of continuing "damaging wind gusts, and heavy rain".

Homes have been destroyed and 26,000 residents have been left without power after the cyclone made landfall about 8pm (local time) last night.

Kalbarri resident Ella Curic told ABC Radio the town had been "flattened", with the roof torn off the local pub and police station.

Her family were sitting at the dining room table at her brother's house when the neighbour's roof "came through window".

"The glass shattered, it all happened very quickly so we grabbed the children and got to the laundry," she said.

"It was insane, timber was being impaled through the house, it was really unnerving."

Department of Fire and Emergency Services Commissioner Darren Klemm said 70 percent of the town of Kalbarri had been damaged to some degree.

One Kalbarri resident told the West Australian newspaper that he was forced to hide in a pantry with his pregnant wife and their dog.

"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 am guessing I have lost some of my roof," Jason Regan said.

Darius Winterfield, a reporter for Channel 9 news in Kalbarri, lost the roof to his balcony and said the storm "will be devastating for many come first light".

Before the storm hit, state Premier Mark McGowan warned that the cyclone was "like nothing we have seen before in decades".

Residents in the area 500km north of Perth were urged to evacuate as the cyclone accelerated towards the shore.

Emergency services opened shelters ahead of the storm's arrival.

Last month, areas of eastern Australia were evacuated as rivers and dams overflowed in the worst floods in decades, with around 18,000 people displaced.