The Risk

The Pilbara coast between Broome and Port Hedland is considered the most cyclone prone in Australia.

It is vital residents within the Town of Port Hedland know the risk and prepare for the cyclone season, which runs from 1 November until 30 April each year.

If a cyclone approaches Port Hedland, its progress can be monitored by accessing the Town’s Disaster Dashboard. The Town’s Facebook page will issue up-to-date alerts on any developments before, during and after a cyclone.

Notable Port Hedland cyclones

Tropical Cyclone Joan (December, 1975):

Tropical Cyclone Joan remains one of the most intense tropical cyclones to affect Australia.

She was at her peak when crossing the coast 50km from Port Hedland, with wind gusts of 208km/h recorded at Port Hedland airport.

Joan caused significant property damage in Port Hedland.

Source: BOM

Severe Tropical Cyclone George (March, 2007):

Severe Tropical Cyclone George crossed the coast as a Category 5 system 50km northeast of Port Hedland.

Wind gusts of up to 275km/h, with a 10-minute mean of 194km/h, were recorded at Bedout Island, and 154km/h gusts were recorded at Port Hedland airport.

Sadly, three people lost their lives during Severe Tropical Cyclone George.

Source: BOM

Cyclone Categories

Category Maximum Wind Speed (km/h) Typical Strongest Gust (km/h) Typical Effects

63 - 88

< 125

Damaging winds. Negligible house damage. Damage to some crops, trees and caravans. Craft may drag moorings.


89 - 117

125 – 164

Destructive winds. Minor house damage. Significant damage to signs, trees and caravans. Heavy damage to some crops. Risk of power failure. Small craft may break moorings.


118 - 159

165 - 224

Very destructive winds. Some roof and structural damage. Some caravans destroyed. Power failures likely.


160 - 199

225 - 279

Significant roofing loss and structural damage. Many caravans destroyed and blown away. Dangerous airborne debris. Widespread power failures.


> 200

> 279

Extremely dangerous with widespread destruction.

Source: Bureau of Meteorology

Cyclone Preparation

One of the most important things that any individual can do is to prepare their property for the cyclone season.

Preparing your property means damage is minimised, which may contribute to the saving of both life and property.

The State Emergency Service (SES) and the Town of Port Hedland recommend that the following be undertaken prior to 1 November:

  • Clear your residence or work area of unwanted materials and rubbish
  • Trim trees of excess height and growth to enable them to withstand high winds.
  • Clear drains of rubbish or obstructions.
  • Prepare or review your Family Cyclone Plan.
  • Prepare and have available your family emergency kit including adequate drinking water containers.
  • Decide where best to shelter your pets.
  • Organise tie down areas and obtain tie down equipment for securing caravans, boats, trailers and other large loose or bulky items.

Annual Green Waste Kerbside Collection

The Town offers a free kerbside pre-cyclone season green waste collection service each year. Click here to read more about it.

During A Cyclone

DFES issues alerts when a cyclone is approaching. The four stages of alerts are Blue, Yellow, Red and All Clear.

Knowing the alert system is important to keep you and your family safe.

Get ready for a cyclone. You need to start preparing for cyclonic weather, with gales and heavy rainfall imminent within 48 hours.

  • Identify and remove any loose material or rubbish around your property
  • Tie down materials and anchor points
  • Purchase supplies including fuel for your car
  • Identify the strongest point in your house or your nearest evacuation centre;
  • Ensure you and your family are aware of cyclone procedures
  • Identify a safe place for your pets (keeping in mind, welfare centres will not accept animals except guide dogs)

Take action and get ready to shelter from a cyclone. Prepare for the arrival of a cyclone, as there is a significant risk of destructive winds and possible flooding

  • Continue to listen to radio, television and/or internet (Disaster dashboard) for announcements on the cyclone’s progress.
  • If you are in a low-lying coastal area and the cyclone is likely to create a storm surge, be prepared to evacuate as recommended.
  • Prepare to move quickly to the strongest part of your house or closest welfare centre, if required.
  • Store or secure loose items that could become missiles in a cyclone.
  • Fasted all cyclone screens into position.
  • Secure boats, caravans, trailers, garden sheds, rainwater tanks and LPG bottles to tie-down points.
  • Know the whereabouts of family members and pets. Consider sheltering pets early.
  • Ensure emergency supplies are in order as identified during the Blue Alert.
  • Fill emergency containers with water.

Take shelter immediately from the cyclone.

  • Immediately move to shelter and remain indoors.
  • Only emergency services identified by the Local Emergency Management Committee should still be functional, and penalties can apply for people found out during a Red Alert.
  • Listen to portable radio for announcements on the cyclone’s progress, or monitor through television and/or internet if power remains on.
  • Go immediately to the strongest part of the house when you hear or feel winds getting stronger.
  • Ensure pets and animals are safely sheltered.
  • Park vehicles in the most sheltered area available.
  • Keep away from doors and windows and keep them closed.
  • Stay indoors until the All Clear with Caution message is given.

The cyclone has passed but take care, because there may still be hazards.

  • The wind and storm surge danger has passed, although other hazards like fallen power lines, structural debris and road hazards may still exist.
  • Continue to listen to radio/television or monitor internet (Town’s Facebook page) for public information announcements.
  • Proceed with caution when going outside.
  • Check that neighbours are OK.
  • Report any dangerous situations to DFES/State Emergency Service.
  • Check on pets.
  • Start clean-up of immediate area. Stack debris on front verge ready for clean-up by Town of Port Hedland.
  • Avoid using the telephone except in emergencies.

Welfare centres

If an evacuation is required, the police or DFES/SES will advise you on what actions you will need to take.

If you need to evacuate, consider seeking refuge with a friend or colleague who lives on higher ground.

The Town of Port Hedland has identified the following buildings as welfare centres for people who do not have adequate accommodation during a cyclone:

  • JD Hardie Youth and Community Hub, Cottier Drive, South Hedland

Welfare centres will only be opened on the advice of DFES/SES and manned by the Department of Communities.

For further information regarding welfare centres, please contact the Department of Communities on (08) 9160 2800.

After A Cyclone

Be aware that there may be debris or other hazards still present even after the all-clear has been given by authorities.

Flood waters could clog storm water systems, and residents need to be aware of the dangers or playing in or around storm drains, ditches, ravines or culverts as it is very easy to be washed away by fast-moving water.

Put some thought into what you and your family might do following a cyclone. Loved ones may need to shelter in different places (at work, for instance), normal communications may be difficult and power could be cut.

It is important to keep emergency contact numbers on hand, and knowing the basics of first-aid is also encouraged.

For more detailed cyclone information, read or download our Cyclone Information Be Aware and Prepared booklet