The West

Large hail, damaging winds and heavy rainfall are predicted for a huge stretch of central WA this afternoon as ex-tropical cyclone Peta plays havoc with WA's weather.

The Bureau of Meteorology issued a storm warning about 12.25pm advising people in the Pilbara, Gascoyne, Goldfields, North Interior and South Interior, in an area bound by Laverton, Wiluna, Mt Augustus, Parburdoo, Telfer, Balgo Hills and Warburton, to brace for severe thunderstorms developing this afternoon.

The warning says the storms are likely to continue into the evening and may be accompanied by damaging winds, large hail and heavy rainfall, which could lead to flash flooding.

Ex-tropical cyclone Peta dumped a significant amount of rain on the Pilbara this morning, with at least one inland pastoral station registering record falls.

The deluge doubled the water in one of the State's dams in just 24 hours.

More than 28 gigalitres of water have gone into the Harding Dam since Wednesday morning, elevating the dam's storage level from under 40 per cent to 80 per cent in just one day.

Hooley Station, 100km north east of Tom Price, had 261.6mm in the 24 hours to 9am – the wettest day since records started in 1972.

ABC Radio reported Mount Florance, a cattle station situated between the Karijini and Millstream national parks, recorded 212mm to 9am but the Bureau of Metrology has not yet confirmed the figure.

Other areas to have significant falls included Coolawanyah (178mm), Pyramid Station (133.3mm) and Wittenoom (122mm).

In the 24 hours to 9am, the system dumped 81mm on Roebourne, 40.2mm at Karratha and 35.8mm at Port Hedland.

Main Roads WA said the North West Coastal Highway from Roebourne to the Great Northern Highway intersection remained shut to all traffic because of rising water levels.

“Further assessments on this closure will be undertaken to ensure opening of the road as soon as possible,” a Main Roads WA spokesman said.

Ex-tropical cyclone Peta crossed the Pilbara coast as a Category 1 system just to the east of Point Samson at about 4pm yesterday.

The system weakened rapidly after crossing the coast but was forecast to bring heavy rainfall across the Pilbara.

People in the area are being advised to find shelter away from trees, power lines, storm water drains and streams if outside, or close their curtains and blinds and stay inside away from windows.

The Department of Fire and Emergency Services says electrical devices should be unplugged and people should avoid using landline telephones if there was lightning.

People are also being urged to create sandbags using pillowcases filled with sand in their doorways if their area is flooded.

Motorists are being advised to slow down, turn their headlights on and not drive into water of an unknown depth.

The West Australian

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