Western Australia's remote is bracing for Tropical Cyclone Joyce amid fears it will grow into an even more severe storm off the west Kimberley coast.
A red alert has been issued for areas south of Broome to the Aboriginal community of Bidyadanga in the Kimberley, with people urged to take shelter and stay away from doors and windows.
"There is a threat to lives and homes. You are in danger and need to act immediately," the alert from Emergency WA states.
There is a also yellow alert to prepare to take shelter for areas from Beagle Bay down to Broome, and for areas south of Bidyadanga to Wallal.
It is the region's second cyclone in a fortnight after Tropical Cyclone Hilda hit the Broome area.
The Bureau of Meteorology warned on Thursday that Joyce was expected to intensify considerably while moving southwest.
Joyce was declared a category one cyclone on Thursday morning with winds of 65kmh, but is set to grow to a far more dangerous category three by Friday with winds up to 180kmh.
Authorities are concerned that the longer the system remains offshore the more it will strengthen before potentially hitting populated areas such as Port Hedland in the Pilbara on Friday night or Saturday morning.
Department of Fire and Emergency Services regional head Glenn Hall on Thursday ordered the closure of the Great Northern Highway between Port Hedland and Broome for 36 to 48 hours.
Emergency crews have been sent to Broome from Perth while an evacuation centre set up is already providing shelter for almost 150 people.