‘Extreme weather event’: Residents urged to enact cyclone plans
UPDATE 5pm: Far Northern residents have been urged to enact their cyclone plans as a tropical low with winds gust of up to 85km/h is forecast to reach cyclone strength on Tuesday morning.
The Bureau of Meteorology at 4.34pm issued an update saying a direct coastal impact was not expected but gales were possible around exposed coastal and island areas as the system, about 250km east of Cairns, reaches cyclone strength.
Heavy rainfalls of 100mm - 150mm are also likely.
Meteorologist Jackson Browne said wind gusts of up to 100km/h may develop around exposed coastal and island areas between Cape Flattery and Lucinda, including Cairns and Innisfail, on Tuesday morning depending on the movement and development of the system.
"Soils and catchments are already saturated after weeks of rain, so flash and riverine flooding is likely across numerous rivers on the north tropical coast during the next few days," Mr Browne said.
"This will possibly extend as far south as Mackay as the low strengthens.
"Roads may become impassable and residents cut off as rivers and creeks rise up over roads and bridges."
"Now is the time to enact your cyclone plans."
EARLIER: Far North boaties have been issued an "extreme" warning while local emergency services are finalising preparations with a low pressure system expected to form into Cyclone Niran by Tuesday.
A cyclone watch was issued on Sunday for much of the FNQ coast between Cape Flattery and Lucinda, including Port Douglas and Cairns.
While the Bureau of Meteorology believe a coastal crossing is unlikely at this stage, the system is forecast to spin up to a category two by Wednesday, with gusts over 100km/h with impacts expected to be felt along the coast.
The Harbour Master issued an "extreme weather warning" on Sunday for every major port between Cape Flattery through to the Cassowary Coast, including the Port of Cairns and Half Moon Bay marina.
"Vessel operators and owners should review their safety plans and address any outstanding
matters," Acting Regional Harbour Master Daniel Frost said.
A gale warning has been issued by the Bureau for the Cairns coast for Monday, along with abnormally high tides.
The latest track map showed the system sitting off the Far North coast until at least Wednesday, after which forecasters believe it would begin to move southwest.
Duty forecaster Michael Gray said areas to the south of Cairns will likely feel the cyclone's effects worst, but the region would "definitely be feeling the impacts" even if it stays offshore.
It was sitting about 270km off Cairns on Sunday and moving southwest at 15km/h.
"The wind should pick up from (Monday)," Mr Gray said.
"At this stage there is some uncertainty in the timing and position of development and subsequent movement of the system in weak environmental steering conditions.
"Showers and thunderstorms are increasing over the Tropical North and Central coast in the coming days.
"The focus for rainfall in the Tropical North East this week will be highly dependent on the tropical low or cyclone."
Far North SES regional director Wayne Coutts said they had been watching the system for several days and increased their level of preparation - co-ordinating with swift water rescue and flood boat crews.
He said some residents had been picking up sandbags and visiting transfer stations in readiness.
Mr Coutts said he feared the non-event of Cyclone Kimi, which was forecast to cross the Far North coast last month but never did, may impact some residents.
"It probably always has the potential of making some people complacent, but mainly people will be watching closely," he said.
A flood watch was in place between Mission Beach and Townsville, with the Cassowary Coast region only recently mopping up from significant flooding last week which cut the Bruce Highway.
Originally published as 'Extreme weather event': Residents urged to enact cyclone plans