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Residents in Western Australia’s north-west are bracing for heavy rain and destructive winds as the state’s first cyclone of the season approaches.

The Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) is predicting a tropical low, currently tracking parallel to the Kimberley coast, will intensify into a cyclone late tonight or early Friday before heading for the east Pilbara coast.

“There is more than normal uncertainty around this system but we are forecasting it to move southwards from Friday and it has the potential to intensify as it approaches the east Pilbara coast later in the week,” BOM Senior Meteorologist James Ashley said.

A tropical cyclone watch has been issued for coastal communities between Bidyadanga, which is to the south of Broome, and Roebourne and Port Hedland.

In Queensland, a monsoon trough is generating showers and storms in the tropics, heaviest in far north Queensland and the Kimberley near lows.

The south eastern states are mostly warm and sunny today as NSW, Victoria and South Australia brace for a heatwave over the Australia Day long weekend.

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