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Tropical Cyclone Iris redevelops off Queensland, strong wind and heavy rain forecast for coastal areas

By Andree Withey, Anne Kruger and staff, Monday April 2, 2018 - 14:43 EST
ABC image
Satellite image of Tropical Cyclone Iris, which is more than 300 kilometres north-east of Townsville. - ABC

Tropical Cyclone Iris has reformed in the Coral Sea, prompting warnings of damaging winds and heavy rainfall for a large stretch of the Queensland coast this week.

The system is more than 300 kilometres north-east of Townsville in the state's north and is forecast to track towards the coast before changing direction and heading east.

Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) forecaster Dean Narramore said it was possible the cyclone would intensify further into a category two system, but that it was unpredictable.

"It shouldn't cross the coast — while it will get close, it looks like an upper trough will come and drag it away, but regardless there are still impacts on the coast," he said.

A severe weather warning is in place between Townsville and Sarina for wind gusts in excess of 100 kilometres per hour and 24-hour rainfall totals of up to 200 millimetres.

"It looks like the places that will get the most rain is particularly between Bowen to Mackay, including the Whitsunday Islands, Airlie Beach, Proserpine and Hamilton Island."

A flood watch is in place for coastal catchments between Rollingstone and St Lawrence.

Authorities are well prepared, Premier says

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said emergency services were well prepared, despite the attention on this week's Commonwealth Games.

"Whilst we might be experiencing Queensland's biggest event down in the southeast on the Gold Coast, we are not going to forget those families that live up and down our coast," she said.

"We have actually factored in there being a weather event up in our state's north at the same time as the Commonwealth Games.

"We're quite comfortable with the resources we have at hand."

State Disaster Coordinator Deputy Commissioner Bob Gee said public safety was the main priority.

"We haven't lost a life yet since all these events started in late February, we're really, really hoping we can continue on that track," he said.

"We're in a good space in terms of planning, but now it's over to individuals to make sure they take responsibility for their own care and for those around them that are more vulnerable."

Tourists warned not to be complacent

Fire and Emergency Services Minister Craig Crawford urged tourists away for the Easter long weekend to plan ahead.

"If you're anywhere between Cairns and Rockhampton, you need to keep an eye on this system."

Queensland Fire and Emergency Services Far Northern Region Assistant Commissioner John Bolger said extra swift water rescue teams were deployed to Cairns, Innisfail, Tully and Cardwell on Sunday.

An incident control centre is expected to be set up in Innisfail on Easter Monday to support the Cassowary Coast.

The wet weather is predicted to hit already drenched areas of central and north Queensland.

Mr Crawford said travellers needed to be aware of flash flooding.

"Do not drive through flooded water, particularly if it's a road you've never ever been on before, if you're coming back from camping somewhere — don't trust it."

Mr Bolger said emergency services are well prepared, and coping well in a busy wet season.

"I'm not worried about how bad [the weather will be], I'm worried about how the community will react," he said.


© ABC 2018

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