Cyclone Rusty is intensifying as it approaches the Pilbara coast (Bureau of Meteorology)
Cyclone Rusty is intensifying as it approaches the Pilbara coast (Bureau of Meteorology)

Residents of Western Australia are preparing themselves for the arrival of Cyclone Rusty as the storm looks to batter the coast.

Cyclone Rusty is around 130 miles off the coast of but there are predictions this could be upgraded to a category three or four storm, with the potential to gather speeds of up to 120mph.

A yellow alert, meaning there is the potentially for loss of life, has been issued by Australia's Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES) for the coastal areas of Wallal, Whim Creek, Pardoo, De Grey and Port Hedland. 

The Australian Bureau of Meteorology has also warned the cyclone will bring more rainfall to the area than is expected for a tropical storm of this size.

The heavy rainfall is expected to be most severe in the  De Grey area,  with eastern Pilbara and western Kimberley also expected to see large downpours.

Western Australia's State Emergency Service (SES) is also advising people to prepare an emergency kit including first aid supplies, a torch, a portable radio, spare batteries and food and water before the storm hits.

A DFES spokesperson said: "Rusty is a large tropical cyclone and its slow movement is likely to result in rainfall that is heavier than that associated with a typical tropical cyclone.

"Very heavy rainfall is expected in near coastal parts of the eastern Pilbara and western Kimberley over the next few days.

"Rusty's intensity, size and slow movement is also likely to lead to a very dangerous storm tide as the cyclone centre nears the coast.

 "Tides are likely to rise significantly above the normal high tide mark, with damaging waves and very dangerous coastal inundation."

The approaching cyclone has already affected the country's mining and iron ore exportations. Port Hedland, one of the major terminals for iron ore exports and ports at Damier and Cape Lambert, have all closed in preparation for Rusty.

Port Hedland will be used to ship more than 275 million tonnes of iron ore this year from companies such as BHP Billiton, Fortescue Metals and Atlas Iron.

Dampier and Cape Lambert, about 120 kilometres south of Port Hedland, are used by Australia's biggest iron ore miner Rio Tinto.