Storm chasers keep eyes on prize
Storm chasers Jeff Mills and Steve Brooks in Port Hedland yesterday. Supplied picture

As Port Hedland locals stocked up on supplies this week and resource workers rushed to get on the last flights out of town, Steve Brooks and Jeff Miles were flying right into the storm.

The storm chasers and weather fanatics, who are behind the Perth Weather Live website, have been out in the strong winds capturing video and regularly updating their 23,000 Facebook followers.

"As soon as I saw Rusty was approaching I thought 'I've gotta do it'. It's such an adrenaline rush, the power of Mother Nature is incredible, you can never underestimate it," Mr Brooks said from Wedgefield, Port Hedland, where the pair were bunkered down yesterday after venturing out in the wild weather.

"This is the biggest storm we've chased - it's really starting to pick up. When you can lean completely into the wind as you can go, and still not fall on your face, it's pretty incredible."

The father of two admitted his partner was nervous about him chasing storms.

In Pardoo, where 200mm of rain was dumped in the 24 hours to 9am yesterday, roadhouse manager Ian Badger was thankful he sent his staff to Broome on Monday night before the Great Northern Highway was closed. "It's only myself here ... everyone else is gone," Mr Badger said. "I don't want anyone here, I'll ride it out myself. The risk of injury and duty of care is too much."

Port Hedland deputy mayor George Daccache, a resident of 40 years, said it was going to be a long wait for residents as they bunkered down and rode out the storm.

He expects Rusty to be one of the worst cyclones the town has seen. "This one's a bit of a beauty," he said.

The West Australian

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