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North Qld fishers batten down the hatches before cyclone

Suzannah Baker, Thursday January 30, 2014 - 16:56 EDT
ABC image
Dark skies and strong winds have forced Mackay fishers to dock, preparing for high tides and flash flooding. - ABC
ABC image
Mackay fishers have docked and put plans in place for high tides, flash flooding and strong winds on the way. - ABC

A tropical low off the north Queensland coast has been officially upgraded to a category one cyclone called Dylan.

It's expected to cross the coast at Ayr early tomorrow morning.

It will coincide with king tides that are already causing localised flooding.

Emergency authorities say more than 200 sandbags have been given to residents in low lying areas.

Rain and strong winds are already battering the small town but authorities say residents are prepared for any extreme weather.

For most of those involved in the rural industries, the change of weather conditions is welcome.

Mackay prawn trawler operator, Danny Pope, says the cyclonic conditions will help to improve prawn stocks when the season start in early March.

"I think we'll get a bit of a blowout of this low at the moment. Hopefully, we'll get a bit of rain and it might start our wet season off.

"I don't think this cyclone is as bad as previous ones."

He says most of the models have the weather system crossing land quickly.

"Things may change though. It has moved further down the coast already, but it's a wait and see at the moment."

Along with all fishers in the region, he's prepared his boat for the strong wind forecast.

In the Central Coasts and Whitsundays district, wind gusts are forecast to reach speeds of 120 kilometres per hour.

"We've strengthened up on our ropes and have a plan prepared if something happens, but mainly you can just keep a watch on your vessel.

"Other than that, there's not much more we can do."

Further north near Proserpine, cane farmer John Casey has prepared his property for the strong winds and heavy rain.

He doesn't expect the forecast conditions will wreak too much havoc on the crop.

"Like any cyclone, we worry about our crop, but we're pretty lucky the crop isn't huge at the moment, so it won't affect it too much.

"Usually when we get cyclones later in the year, around March when the cane's a bit bigger, we start to get worried."

Mr Casey says the biggest concern at this stage is water-logging, caused by too much rain.

For the latest information on the developing cyclone, visit


- ABC

© ABC 2014

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