Western Australians warned to take shelter as massive cyclone to hit Friday

April 13 (UPI) -- A massive cyclone turning off the coast of Western Australia is expected to make landfall early Friday as a category 5 storm, meteorologists said, as officials warn those in some communities to take shelter immediately.

A red alert has been issued for Bidyadanga to Port Hedland in northwestern Australia, with the Department of Fire and Emergency Services Western Australia warning Thursday evening that "there is a threat to lives and homes."


Those under the alert are being instructed to stay indoors as "it is too late to leave," it said in a statement.

"Stay in the strongest, safest part of the building. Stay away from doors and windows, and keep them closed. Keep you emergency kit with you," it said.

The warning comes as the Bureau of Meteorology upgraded the cyclone dubbed Ilsa to a category 5 storm with winds of 127 mph at its center and gusts as strong as 177 mph.


Forecasters had Ilsa located at 5 p.m. about 90 miles north of Port Hedland and was moving south at 10 mph.

It's anticipated to severely impact the northwestern coast either late Thursday or early Friday, which is when it is expected to make landfall between Port Hedland and Wallal Downs.

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