Hundreds of evacuees have begun arriving in Katherine after fleeing from the destructive path of Tropic Cyclone Trevor.
A temporary evacuation centre has been set up at the Katherine Showgrounds to host residents chiefly from Numbulwar on the NT east coast.
TC Trevor is expected to make landfall just south of there on Saturday with wind gusts reaching 275kmh a possibility as it strengthens.
Numbulwar resident Gracie Bell and her entire family arrived in Katherine at about 1.30pm today on the first bus of what could be many.
Arriving with little food and only the essentials, Ms Bell said she was worried about her home and dogs left behind.
The family has no idea what will happen to their community, and no idea how long they might be required to stay at the evacuation centre.
The family was informed last night by police they, and the entire remote community, were required to be on a bus at 6 this morning.
Boarding in the dark, Numbulwar, about 450km away from Katherine, was showing no signs of a cyclone, Ms Bell said.
"The weather was normal when we left. No big winds, no rain and no showers," she said.
With mere hours to prepare for the evacuation, the family packed their belongings quickly into school bags and large heavy duty plastic bags.
"We got scared when police came by last night and told us we had to leave," Ms Bell said.
"We brought everything with us, pillows, blankets, clothes and a little bit of food, but we are worried we won't have enough.
"We're going to miss that place if there is a big storm."
While Ms Bell said she was happy to be safe and out of the danger zone, she worries about a future where she may have no home to go back to.
"We don't know what we will do if the house is blown away.
"We miss Numbulwar," she said.
Other families at the evacuation centre voiced concerns about the possible damage Trevor could inflict as he passes through.
For most of the Numbulwar residents, the homes left behind are a major concern.
And with little belongings brought along, most say they worry about how long they will be in Katherine.
A state of emergency was declared in the Gulf country by Chief Minister Michael Gunner today.
Thousands of evacuees are making their way to Katherine and Darwin today to escape the cyclone.
The evacuation has been called the largest before a cyclone in the NT's history is underway with Cyclone Trevor.
Given the expected ferocity of TC Trevor, the evacuees have no idea how long they will be forced to live so far away from their homes.
Borroloola, which has a population of 900, is most at risk of being directly hit going on the current forecast cyclone tracks.
While the actual cyclone will not arrive until Saturday to storm tides and opening wind blasts will arrive tonight and tomorrow, authorities expect.
A tropical cyclone watch is current from Nhulunbuy to the NT/QLD border, including Groote Eylandt and inland parts of the Carpentaria district.
Very destructive wind gusts up to 275km/h, heavy rainfall and very dangerous storm tide are expected near the centre of the system as it approaches and crosses the NT coast.
Wind gusts to 120km/h are expected to develop on Groote Eylandt from Friday morning and extend to the mainland between Cape Shield and the NT Border later Friday.
Meanwhile, a gale warning for Thursday is in place for the Gove Peninsula and Roper Groote Coasts. This increases to a hurricane force wind warning Friday for Gove Peninsula and Roper Groote Coasts, and a strong wind warning for the Arafura Coast.
The system is likely to produce significant rainfall.
Daily totals of 150-250mm are possible along coastal regions of the southwest Gulf, including Groote Eylandt, as the system approaches and makes landfall.
Heavier falls of up to 300mm are possible close to the centre of the system on Saturday as the system makes landfall.
Heavy rainfall and strong winds are likely to continue inland and may impact the Barkly district this weekend and early next week.
Roads and rail links to Darwin may be impacted by local flooding.
Heavy rain and strong winds may have substantial impacts on agricultural and cattle grazing districts through eastern parts of the NT.
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