Storm Surge

The Pilbara coast is subject to large tidal ranges, which has generally meant significant coastal inundation has been averted when cyclones have crossed at low tide.

However, it is crucial for people who live in coastal Pilbara areas to recognise that you might be subject to flooding and waves caused by a storm surge during a tropical cyclone, and being prepared to evacuate at short notice is important, particularly if a cyclone is imminent.

What is Storm Surge?

Storm surge as an abnormal rise in sea levels above the normal astronomical tide level.

The surge is primarily caused by a tropical cyclone and can cause a large mound of water to be pushed onshore.

If a storm surge arrives during low tide, the coastal impacts will mostly be minor.

However, the worst impacts happen when a storm surge arrives on top of a high tide. When this happens, the storm ride can reach areas that might otherwise have been safe.

On top of this, large waves caused by the severity of winds during a cyclone can result in water levels rising several metres and reach areas far away from coast.

Severe storm surges can cause roads to be washed away, destroy buildings and threaten lives.

People are urged to heed warnings, advice and instructions from authorities if a storm surge is expected.

Plan ahead and decide early where you will shelter if you need to evacuate and ensure your emergency kit is ready.

"Planning and preparation is key to safely navigating cyclone season"

Storm Surge

© Bureau of Meteorology

Storm Surge Markers

The Town of Port Hedland is installing six storm surge markers at strategic locations in Port Hedland.

These markers indicate the potential storm surge height for different tide levels in the event of a cyclonic event, which is based on a reference of 6m astronomical tide.

The heights are indicative only and not actual, due to the many factors that can affect a storm surge.

Locations of the storm surge markers are:

  • Port Hedland Boat Ramp (Richardson Street)
  • Lions Club Park, Port Hedland (Cnr Darlot St and Anderson St)
  • Cemetery Beach Park (Sutherland Street)
  • Shane Thomas Park, Port Hedland (Snr McGregor St and Clark St)
  • Yikara Park, Pretty Pool (Matheson Drive)
  • Cooke Point Drive

The Town recommends all residents in these areas make themselves aware of the potential risks posed by storm surges and have a plan in place to respond at short notice should they need to evacuate.

Contact Numbers

Department of Fire & Emergency Services (DFES)

Emergencies: 000

Cyclone Information Line: 1300 657 209

State Emergency Services (SES)

132 500

(08) 9140 1300


Emergencies: 000

Port Hedland: (08) 9173 8100

South Hedland: (08) 9160 2100

Hedland Health Campus

(08) 9174 1410

After-Hours: (08) 9174 1000

St John Ambulance

Emergencies: 000

Bureau of Meteorology (BOM)

1300 659 210

Horizon Power

13 23 51

Water Corporation

13 13 75

Volunteer Marine Rescue Service 0407 476 096
Main Roads WA

13 81 38

Department of Communities (08) 9160 2800
Town of Port Hedland

Civic Centre: (08) 9158 9300 / (08) 9111 5000

Depot: (08) 9158 9700

Family Emergency Kit

Your family emergency kit should include items that will help your family when the essential services are not available ie. power, water, telephone.

Check your family emergency kit and organise supplies including but not restricted to:

  • First-aid kit
  • Torch, portable radio and plenty of spare batteries
  • Canned or dry foods
  • Drink water containers
  • Appropriate cash supplies (EFTPOS may not work)
  • Spare car and house keys
  • Blankets and spare clothing – including cooler weather clothing and baby care products
  • Medications, tissues, toiletries and sanitary supplies
  • Strong plastic bags for storing important personal documents such as wills, passports, photographs, birth and marriage certificates, powers of attorney and insurance policies
  • Earplugs or I-Pod with headphones and a mobile phone, spare battery and charger
  • Books, playing cards or games
  • A full tank of fuel

Keep your emergency kit in an easily accessible place and ensure all members of the household are aware of its location.

Local welfare centres

If evacuation becomes necessary during a cyclonic or storm surge event, the police or DFES/SES will advise you on the actions you are required to take.

If you must evacuate, please consider seeking refuge at a friend or colleague’s property located on higher ground.

Alternatively, the Town of Port Hedland has designated that the JD Hardie Youth and Community Hub is suitable for use as a welfare centre.

Additional locations may be designated as may be required. Evacuees relocating to designated welfare centres are able to bring clothing, bedding, food and personal items, however pets are not allowed.

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

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