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Monsoon trough brings heavy downpours

Wednesday January 23, 2013 - 00:23 EDT
Audience submitted image
A high tide the morning after the cyclone hit washes onto Seisia Wharf on Cape York Peninsula. - Audience submitted

Heavy rain continues to pummel large parts of far north Queensland in the wake of tropical cyclone Oswald, which crossed the coast early this morning and was promptly downgraded.

The weather bureau says the category one system made landfall between the Aboriginal communities of Pormpuraaw and Kowanyama about 1:00am (AEDT).

Further north, Weipa felt wind gusts of up to 90 kilometres an hour.

Kowanyama's airport was closed after torrential rain damaged the runway overnight.

Pormpuraaw's airstrip is flooded.

Daryl Camp from Emergency Management Queensland says it is a major issue for both communities, which are regularly isolated by road closures during the wet season.

"They're cut off every year with the roads so they do rely fairly heavily on the airstrip, especially Kowanyama which is ... about 20 to 25 kilometres inland," he said.

"They rely very heavily on the aircraft - Pormpuraaw to a lesser degree but they have trouble getting a barge in there."

Damaging winds gusts are affecting the Peninsula district and they are expected to develop on the North Tropical Coast and Tablelands later tonight.

Power out

Hundreds of properties are still without power on western Cape York.

Ergon Energy says it hopes to fly a repair crew to Weipa this afternoon.

Heavy rain today has caused flooding south of Cairns, closing some roads.

Some parts of the Gulf Country have missed out on heavy rain thus far.

But weather bureau senior forecaster Brett Harrison says the system is likely to stay over the Peninsula for the next two days before possibly re-entering the Gulf.

"We are seeing some very heavy rainfall over the northern tropics," he said.

"A lot of it is associated with the cyclone but also the monsoon trough that is very strong around the Cairns area.

"We have seen the heaviest rainfall around the Tully and Innisfail region with over 300mm recorded since 9am yesterday and we expect the rain to continue.

"We do expect heavy rain to continue throughout the next few days with the monsoon trough."

Mr Harrison says Oswald is expected to continue moving inland before tracking south tomorrow.

Storm surge

Carpentaria Mayor Fred Pascoe says graziers are hoping for big rain falls from the system.

He says authorities have been preparing, and a command centre has been set up in the shire, with a particular focus on Karumba, in case a cyclone re-forms.

"If this thing does come back, predictions are it is going to land on the western side of the Gulf," he said.

"If it lands on the western side of Karumba, there is the real potential for a storm surge, which is probably more of a hazard than a cyclone, given the flat country we have got up here.


© ABC 2013

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