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Cyclone warning: North Queensland residents continue emergency preparations as Dylan forms

Thursday January 30, 2014 - 15:37 EDT
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The Townsville Yacht Club has sandbagged its clubhouse ahead of king tides and a potential cyclone. - ABC

Emergency preparations are continuing in north Queensland as a potential cyclone approaches the coast.

The system, which will be named Tropical Cyclone Dylan if it continues to develop, is expected to make landfall just north of Townsville on Friday.

There is a cyclone warning for coastal and island communities from Cairns to St Lawrence, with a cyclone watch extending inland through the eastern interior including Charters Towers and Moranbah.

The cyclone threat comes amid king tides that are expected to reach 4.1 metres on Friday, with authorities warning of dangerous storm surges.

Strong winds and heavy rain will hit the state's north as the low pressure system approaches.

Residents are being urged to take precautions and in Cairns supermarket shelves are emptying, with many shops already running out of long-life milk and bread.

Local disaster management groups have been mobilised, while state disaster officials met in Brisbane yesterday afternoon to discuss cyclone preparations.

Extra resources are being deployed to the region, including an extra swift-water rescue team.

Residents between Lucinda and Mackay are being warned of a dangerous storm tide.

Flooding is a concern in low-lying areas in Townsville, with the storm system's impact coinciding with king tides.

Queensland Fire and Rescue's Wayne Preedy says Townsville residents should prepare appropriately.

"People who are new to the area [should] talk to their neighbours about what's likely to happen, take some defensive measures about their property with the use of sandbags or use of tarps, etc," he said.

The high tides have already caused localised flooding in parts of Cairns and Townsville.

Townsville Mayor Jenny Hill says around 4,000 residents in low-lying areas need to prepare for inundation.

"Think about getting some sand bags and tarpaulins and blocking entrance ways where water could seep through," she said.

"It's really more about the wind whipping those high tides over the 4.1 metres we're looking at having on Thursday or Friday and pushing that water further up through our suburbs."

The Townsville Port has suspended all commercial shipping operations.

"Larger commercial ships are all the larger ships that are carrying commodities, so ferries and other recreational traffic aren't affected at this stage and the harbour master will continue to make announcements as he sees appropriate," acting chief executive Ranee Crosby said.

Emergency Management Queensland recommends that a home emergency kit contain items such as a portable radio, a torch, spare batteries, essential medications and a first aid kit.


© ABC 2014

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