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Ex-Cyclone Dylan continues to dump heavy rain after making landfall in north Queensland

Friday January 31, 2014 - 17:37 EDT
ABC image
King tides coincided with a storm surge from Cyclone Dylan at Airlie Beach. - ABC

Ex-tropical cyclone Dylan is still dumping heavy rain in north and central Queensland as it moves further inland.

The storm began as a tropical low in the Coral Sea several days ago but last night intensified before making landfall about 3:30am AEST at Hideaway Bay, near Bowen.

It has quickly lost steam and about 4pm was more than 100 kilometres west of Moranbah, with drought-stricken graziers hoping for decent rainfall.

But wild seas have pounded a resort on Great Keppel Island, washing away some buildings at a local bar.

"Three cabins, dive shop shed, utility shed, countless trees," co-owner Sean Appleton said.

"As each wave comes through we're losing more and more."

Mr Appleton fears there will be more damage in Saturday's high tide.

"We're looking at about six metres from the front of the main structure," he said.

Storm surges combined with king tides also caused isolated flooding in Mackay and Airlie Beach.

The high tide in Mackay of more than 6.5 metres was enough to force police to block access to the city's main boat ramp, with water pushing more than 30 metres from the top of the ramp into the carpark.

While most regions have escaped relatively unscathed, Mackay Mayor Deidre Comerford says there could be more in store before cyclone season ends in April.

"There's another low forming, so I'd say that's just good preparation because you know you can get an event that really is quite serious in the devastation it can cause," she said.

Residents relieved to find little damage

Hideaway Bay locals say they endured an anxious night as winds up to 130 kilometres per hour lashed the coast.

Caravan park owner Paul Willcocks says they are relieved to find little damage in the light of day.

"At the moment I can see branches all over the place and the wind is still whistling around. It's very gusty but hardly raining," he said.

"We didn't get a lot of rain over the last 24 hours, something in the order of 80 or 90 millimetres here but it's been a very blustery night that's for sure."

The Bureau of Meteorology, meanwhile, has come under fire for a lack of warnings issued as they cyclone made landfall.

The bureau updated its alert just before 5:00am (AEST), 90 minutes after Dylan made landfall.

Senior forecaster Brett Harrison says bureau staff are not to blame.

"We don't have the resources to issue those sort of warnings more regularly than that, we unfortunately had to wait for that three-hourly update cycle," he said.

But he says warnings about the cyclone have been issued for days and the bureau's web based radar was also available to track the cyclone.

Dylan brings less rain than expected

Wind gusts up to 120 kilometres per hour were still being felt between Ayr and Sarina a few hours after the cyclone made landfall, but rainfall totals on the coast have been much less than initially thought.

About 100 millimetres were recorded in Mackay and 60 millimetres at Hamilton Island.

However, rural townships south of Gladstone were expected to experience heavy falls later Friday and areas near the Calliope, Boyne and Kolan rivers, as well as Baffle Creek, were put on flood alert.

Queensland Premier Campbell Newman has urged people in the cyclone zone to look out for one another.

"This is something that should be taken in its stride. They have dealt with far worse than this in the last few years," he said.

"We now need people to take responsibility for their own safety as well ... not undertaking unnecessary travel and unnecessary risks."

Residents in Townsville have been on high alert for days, with water from a king tide on Thursday inundating parts of the inner-city.


© ABC 2014

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