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Cyclone Seroja brewing off WA coast joined by two tropical lows

A cyclone brewing off the West Australian coast is joined by a second tropical low, adding to what was already a rare weather event.

The cyclone brewing off the coast of Western Australia has now been joined by two other tropical lows nearby, adding to an already rare weather event.

Key points:
  • Tropical Cyclone Seroja is brewing off WA's north coast
  • A second tropical low in the area has now been joined by a third
  • Tourists are being urged to reconsider travel to the area

Tropical Cyclone Seroja, currently a category one system, is about 670 kilometres north-west of Karratha and 650km north-north-west of Exmouth.

It is moving west-south-west at a speed of 29 kilometres per hour and is forecast to strengthen as it tracks over open waters, before making landfall late on Sunday or Monday, most likely between Jurien Bay and Carnarvon, the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) said.

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It could bring a brief but intense period of dangerous weather to the west coast, including destructive winds, very high rainfall and higher than normal tides.

'Two spinning tops on the table'

A second tropical low that has formed nearby is expected to strengthen to cyclone intensity, and the two systems are on track to interact with one another over the next couple of days in a rare phenomenon known as the Fujiwhara Effect.

"It's like having two spinning tops on the table," said BOM duty forecaster Noel Pusey.

"They're their own entity, so they can interact, but they also tend to move around each other in a little bit of a dance.

Wind map showing Cyclone Seroja and tropical low off WA coast

"You don't get doubling up of the system or anything, but you get interaction between the two.

"Eventually I think there will be just one left standing and that will be Seroja and that will be the one that comes down and crosses the WA coast later.

"It's quite an unusual crossing for late in the season."

Third tropical low edges closer

Overnight a third tropical low edged closer to the two existing systems but Mr Pusey said it was unlikely to add to the interaction.

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"There's a tropical low out well to the west near Cocos Islands which looks like it's slowly developing at the moment and may bring some weather to the Cocos Island region over the weekend," he said.

"But that's a completely separate system."

Warning to tourists

The Department of Fire and Emergency Services has issued a warning to tourists spending the school holidays in the Mid West-Gascoyne and the Pilbara, with Acting Commissioner Craig Waters urging people to reconsider their travel plans.

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"We know there are many holidaymakers in the area and others making their way there, many of whom will not have experienced a cyclone before," Commissioner Waters said.

"If you're in a tent or caravan, you are simply not protected against the damaging winds that may hit the region.

"The size of this potential impact area is another reason to be prepared, because you may need to travel some distance before you are out of harm's way."

He has urged people to familiarise themselves with the cyclone warning alerts.

BOM said the south-west corner of the state, including Perth, was likely to get some rainfall associated with Tropical Cyclone Seroja over the weekend.

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