The remnants of tropical cyclone Rusty are causing major flooding in the Pilbara catchment areas and river levels are expected to remain high for days.
Around 4pm yesterday, two hours after all cyclone warnings were cancelled, emergency services said minor to major flood levels had been reached in the Nullagine, Oakover, Coongan and De Grey rivers, with further peaks possible in coming days.
Residents of Port Hedland, Marble Bar and Nullagine considered themselves fortunate to avoid the full force of the cyclone, which was a category four before it crossed the coast on Wednesday, weakening as it moved inland.
A dolphin washed ashore in Port Hedland battered and bruised but alive, and fallen trees and branches needed clearing up around the town.
But it was the tiny community of Pardoo further north that copped the full brunt of Rusty's winds.
Pardoo Station owner Graham Rogers said his 200,000 hectare property was "flogged" by the cyclone, which damaged buildings and killed cattle.
The main cause of the deaths was hypothermia, Mr Rogers said.
Pardoo Roadhouse manager Ian Badger said a shed was demolished, some cladding was torn from the building and a few trees were brought down.
He described the winds as "extremely intense".
"It is a hell of a mess to clean up,'' Mr Badger told ABC radio.
"I had two truck drivers who were stranded and spent their time in their cabs.
"It just blew, and rained, and blew and blew and blew.''
Export facilities at Port Hedland were closed for 86.5 hours but re-opened for inbound ships around 4pm.
Rio Tinto resumed ship loading at its Dampier and Cape Lambert ports, although the company had continued mining, dumping and stockpiling iron ore throughout the emergency.
The three ports collectively handle some 500 million tonnes of iron ore annually.