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Cyclone Billy expected to intensify

December 21, 2008 - 9:38PM

Ex-tropical cyclone Billy is expected to pick up strength on Monday and again threaten Western Australia's coastline.

It's feared flooding, heavy rain and gale-force winds expected late on Monday and on Tuesday could threaten small indigenous communities.

Two remote indigenous communities, Kulumburu and Oombulgurri, in Western Australia's far north, are already cut off by floodwaters.

Billy was downgraded to a tropical low category on the weekend after earlier packing destructive winds of up to 130km/h on Saturday morning.

It will almost certainly become a cyclone again on Monday, a Bureau of Meteorology spokesman told AAP.

"It is moving west across the Kimberley and is expected to move off the coast into tropical water and early Monday morning. That will be favourable for it to intensify," he said.

Gales may develop between Kalumburu and Beagle Bay overnight or during Monday and extend down the coast to Broome and Wallal late on Monday or Tuesday, he said.

The roads and the airstrips are closed at Kulumburu and Oombulgurri.

Both communities had been cut off by floods before and were next to rivers that fed into the ocean, State Emergency Services (SES) spokesman Allen Gale told AAP.

"It is not new for them but we watch it closely as they are effectively isolated," he said.

"They have plenty of stock, there is plenty of water, obviously, and they are resilient. The authorities communicate with them regularly and they have their own plans in place."

© 2008 AAP
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