Cyclone intensifies off Western Australia

Officials asked residents in the town of Denham, Shark Bay, 500 kilometres (311 miles) north of Perth to evacuate while sandbags were being made available to residents of Geraldton, further down the coast, due to potential storm surge.

The category 2 cyclone was rapidly moving south east and could reach category 3 severity before it makes landfall, the Bureau of Meteorology said.

A category 3 classification can see wind speeds of up to 224 kilometres an hour.