March 25 (UPI) -- Tropical Cyclone Veronica hovered near northwest Australia, by Karratha, Monday, but was expected to weaken overnight while delivering heavy rain to some areas, the country's weather service said.
The Bureau of Meteorology said that Veronica packed sustained winds of 52 miles per hour Monday with gust near 75 mph. The storm was located some 30 miles northeast of Karratha, moving slowly west.
"Widespread, very heavy rainfall conducive to major flooding is likely over the central Pilbara coast and adjacent inland areas overnight Monday, easing gradually during Tuesday," the bureau said. "Heavy rainfall is expected to result in significant river rises, areas of flooding and hazardous road conditions.
"... Gales with gusts to (62 mph) are occurring between Dampier and Whim Creek, including Karratha and inland towards Millstream. Gales may extend west to Cape Preston later (Monday) further west to Mardie and adjacent inland areas if the cyclone doesn't weaken as quickly as expected overnight," the bureau continued.
AccuWeather reported that while not reaching land, Veronica still dumped 8.39 inches of rain on Port Hedland since Saturday, four times the area would normally get for March. Some 10 to 20 inches of rain was expected to fall from Balla Balla and Port Hedland to Marble Bar by Monday.
Veronica is the second named storm to affect Australia within days. Cyclone Trevor hit a remote part of the Northern Territory coast on Saturday as a Category 4 storm, roughly 1,000 miles east of the Pilbara region.
Veronica affected about 60,000 people living in the iron ore mining region that is often prepared for such storms off the coast during its summer season, The Independent reported.