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WA on alert as two cyclones spin off coast

Western Australians along a 1400 kilometre stretch of coastline are being warned to get out or batten down, as two cyclones are set to hit coastal communities this weekend.
In a very rare occurrence, two separate cyclones – Cyclone Seroja and Cyclone Odette – have become intertwined and are now spinning around each other about 500km off the coast of WA.

A former tropical low, Cyclone Odette strengthened into a cyclone this morning, becoming the seventh such weather event to be named in the Australian region so far this season.

Cyclone Seroja is currently a Category One storm but is expected to strengthen into a Category Three by the time it makes landfall on Sunday.

Residents from Perth all the way up to Onslow in the Pilbara are being warned of destructive winds of up to 150 kilometres, intense rainfall and the risk of flash flooding.

First to be impacted will be the area around Exmouth, when Cyclone Odette hits on Saturday night, bringing a brief but intense period of heavy rain and strong to gale-force winds with the possibility of flash flooding.

Some regions could see a month’s worth of rain in a single day.

Cyclone Seroja and tropical low 23U are currently dumbelling around each other off the WA coast, in what is known as the ‘Fujiwhara effect’. (9News)

Then, late on Sunday or early Monday, the stronger of the two systems, Cyclone Seroja, will make landfall, bringing with it dangerous winds of up to 150 kilometres, heavy rain and flash floods.

The Bureau of Meteorology is warning that dangerous surf and a large storm surge will make conditions on the oceans treacherous.

The storm cell is expected to first make landfall between Carnarvon and Jurien Bay.

It is unusual for a tropical storm to make its way so far south.

The Bureau of Meteorology has warned that this is “an area not accustomed to tropical cyclones, making impacts more significant”.

“Tropical Cyclone Seroja has already brought widespread devastation and deaths to parts of Timor Leste state and Indonesia,” Bureau of Meteorology meteorologist Jonathan How said.

“Over the coming days, both Seroju and 23U (now Cyclone Odette) will strengthen and dumbbell around each other. This is known as the Fujiwhara effect and isn’t often seen.”

East coast flood disaster now stretching 600km

The rarity of the event – last seen in Western Australia in the 1950s – is making the storms’ paths difficult for meteorologists to predict, but it’s expected that Cyclone Seroju will build in strength as it profits off the smaller low.

Severe weather may also extend into the Western Australian wheat beat, as Cyclone Seroja continues its path inland.

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