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Cyclone Penny re-forms and could track back towards Queensland coast, Bureau of Meteorology says

By Talissa Siganto and Nick Wiggins, Thursday January 3, 2019 - 00:25 EDT
ABC licensed image
Tropical Cyclone Penny is expected to move back toward Queensland by the weekend. - ABC licensed
ABC licensed image
The Archer River cut off the Peninsula Developmental Road north of Coen on Cape York. - ABC licensed

Cyclone Penny has re-formed as a category one system over the Coral Sea and is now expected to track back towards the coast within days, the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) says.

The cyclone forecast issued by the BOM on Wednesday at 5:13pm said the system was too far off the Queensland coast to produce any significant impact on land, and would continue to move further offshore over the next day or so.

Penny uprooted trees and flooded roads when it made landfall on Tuesday afternoon south of Weipa as a category one system.

At 4:00pm on Wednesday, the system was about 295 kilometres east of Lockhart River, moving eastwards over the Coral Sea.

BOM meteorologist Rick Threlfall said the system was predicted to strengthen and become a category two cyclone over the Coral Sea by Thursday morning before potentially heading back towards the Queensland coast.

"There's a fairly good chance that Penny will take a turn towards the south-west and come back towards the Queensland coast during the weekend and at this stage there is the possibility of the cyclone or tropical low crossing the cost around about Sunday night into Monday," he said.

"Little bit too early to know exactly where the cyclone or tropical low by that stage will cross but either way there is a potential for damaging winds and heavy rainfall."

Mr Threlfall said this year's cyclone season had already exceeded predictions.

"We normally see around about three to four cyclones in the Queensland region … obviously we've already seen two coastal crossings as well.

"Usually we only see about one per year so yeah, well, well ahead of where we would normally be this stage of the season."

There are still severe weather warnings for heavy rain, damaging winds and abnormally high tides for the Northern Peninsula Area, Torres Strait Islands and parts of eastern Cape York.

Weipa Town Authority chairman Michael Rowland said while conditions had eased in his area, roads remained cut throughout the region.

"We have heard instances there are some people currently waiting to cross one of the larger river systems, the Archer River, so they've been isolated and they're sort of stuck there at a little roadhouse. People trying to get back from Christmas."

Far northern SES regional director Wayne Coutts said communities in the cyclone's path held up well.

"Just a lot of vegetation damage as you'd expect from a category one, fairly limited structural damage just basically caused by a few trees that lent over onto buildings and that sort of thing," he said.

"In these remote communities people are very well prepared for the cyclone season."

Mr Coutts said the SES only received two calls for help, both for leaking roofs, overnight in Weipa.

"That's excellent, that's a testament I guess to people being able to help themselves and being well prepared," he said.

The system brought more than 100 millimetres of rain to several areas in the far north.

Scherger RAAF Base received 121 millimetres since 9:00am [Tuesday], with 63 millimetres falling between 6:00pm and 9:00pm.

Moreton recorded 118 millimetres, while Cohen received 116 millimetres.


© ABC 2019

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