Weather News

Tropical Cyclone Owen heads for Cape Shield and Groote Eylandt, BOM issues warning

Tuesday December 11, 2018 - 16:52 EDT
ABC image
A cyclone warning is in place for some coastal communities in the Gulf of Carpentaria - ABC

A Tropical Cyclone warning has been issued for parts of the north-east Top End, including Cape Shield and Groote Eylandt.

Bureau of Meteorology predictions suggest Ex-Tropical Cyclone Owen will intensify as it moves through the Gulf of Carpentaria, with the storm expected to reach Tropical Cyclone strength on Tuesday evening.

A warning has been issued for communities from Cape Shield in the Northern Territory, including Groote Eylandt, through to Burketown in Queensland.

Gales with gusts of up to 110 kilometres per hour are expected between Cape Shield and the Queensland border in the next 24 hours, and the system may reach category 1 cyclone strength this afternoon at the earliest.

According to the bureau, the system could reach a category 3, contingent on conditions in the Gulf of Carpentaria. However, it is not predicted to make landfall on mainland Northern Territory.

"With a [category 3 system], we typically see winds up to 234 kilometres an hour," meteorologist Laura Boekel said.

"However this system is staying offshore, so the communities on the coast of the NT will experience winds of 80 kilometres an hour with gusts up to 110 kilometres an hour."

Regional controller Travis Wurst said coastal areas and islands in southern and western parts of the Gulf would also experience heavy rain.

"People should stay away from beaches and coastal areas because of higher-than-normal tides and wind-driven surf as Ex-Tropical Cyclone Owen approaches," he said.

"Coastal flooding may occur in the area, which is also dangerous."

He urged residents in the warning zone to stay indoors as weather deteriorates later tonight.

But first he suggested making some preparations, including:
Parking vehicles under solid shelter, with the handbrake on and in gear
Putting wooden or plastic outdoor furniture in backyard pools or inside with other loose items
Drawing curtains and shutting doors
Packing a kit with essential medications, baby formula, nappies, valuables, important papers, photos, mementoes in waterproof bags, as part of emergency kits
Checking neighbours — especially new arrivals — are aware of the situation and are preparing
Remaining indoors with pets, not moving to public shelters unless advised by local authorities
Staying tuned to local radio/television for further information

A list of what residents should include in their emergency kit can be found on the

, and more .

If it's flooded, forget it

Northern Territory Emergency Services (NTES) said evacuations were not on the cards, but emergency services staff were prepared to assist "post an event if necessary".

"We also have a whole of government planning group opening up as we speak, which is taking a greater look at the local area," Northern Command regional manager Mark Cunnington said.

Business owners in Borroloola have since been warned to check fuel and stock supplies, with heavy falls bringing about the possibility of flash flooding and road blocks.

Mr Cunnington said residents needed to have an understanding of their personal situation.

"The hazards expected are going to be wind, so you can expect objects to be picked up and thrown around," he said.

"With heavy rain you can expect the possibility of localised flooding … so stay off the roads during heavy rain.

"Crocodiles are always a feature of the Top End, and it's just never a good idea to go anywhere near flood waters."


© ABC 2018

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