THE tiny Pilbara community of Pardoo appears to have emerged remarkably unscathed after copping a direct hit when the huge tropical cyclone Rusty crossed the WA coast late on Wednesday afternoon.
In what must have seemed like a remarkable case of dejavu - another one-time category four system, Cyclone Lua, made landfall near Pardoo less than a year ago - Pardoo Roadhouse owner Ian Badger braced himself for the worst when Rusty veered away from its original predicted destination of Port Hedland.
But his anxiety, while certainly understandable, turned out to be fortuitously unfounded.
Speaking on Radio 6PR on Wednesday night, Mr Badger reported only some damage to a shed, relatively minor water inundation and disturbance to his sleep patterns.
"It's almost peaceful outside for the first time in three or four days," Mr Badger said.
"We've been pretty lucky this time. Cyclone Lua last year was a bit more intense."
Mr Badger said his clean-up effort after Rusty would still be significant but paperwork might be the hardest part of that task.
"Now I've got to deal with the insurance companies," he said.
"Dealing with a cyclone is much easier than dealing with insurance companies."
According to Mr Badger, nearby Pardoo Station - which along with the roadhouse and some accomodation facilities makes up the community - was more severely affected by tidal surges.
But station staff posted on Facebook early on Wednesday evening that they were safe and well and waiting out Rusty in relative comfort.
Mr Badger must now call his own staff back from Broome, where he sent them when Rusty loomed ominously off the North West coast over the weekend.
As of 9pm on Wednesday night, Pardoo remained on red alert but Rusty was tracking south-east towards Marble Bar and Nullagine and expected to carry 165km/h winds with it.
Both Marble Bar and Nullagine had been placed on red alert as well but Rusty, which was downgraded from category four to three on Wednesday, was forecast to drop to category two on Thursday.
By the time it reaches Newman, it will likely be category one or may even have dissipated into a tropical low.