North prepares for Nora’s wrath
STRIKE force teams of emergency services are on standby as Cyclone Nora threatens to lash remote Queensland communities along the Gulf this weekend.
The region has been put on high alert, with the Bureau of Meteorology on Friday warning Nora was a "rapidly intensifying situation".
"The cyclone was only named (Friday) morning and already it was a Category-3. By early Sunday we're expecting it to reach Category-4 status," BoM state manager Bruce Gunn said.
"It's a very uncertain situation. Cyclones in the Gulf are typically difficult to predict due to the interaction of the sea and land and shape of the coastline."
If Nora makes landfall, it will be the first severe cyclone to hit the Gulf region in 17 years. Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the region was well prepared.
"As Queenslanders, we need to reassure our fellow Queenslanders who live in some of the most remote locations of our state that we are there with them," she said.
"A Category-4 is a big system ... (it) is intense and it's the tidal surge that comes after."
Queensland Fire and Emergency Service Commissioner Katarina Carroll warned far-north Queensland residents to prepare for heavy rainfall.
Severe #QLDStorm warning updated: now for damaging winds as well as heavy falls. Locations which may be affected include Thargomindah, Bulloo Downs, Eromanga, Hungerford, Mount Margaret and Mt Howitt Station. Updates: https://t.co/cCbdp2H1bF pic.twitter.com/xmv533iX6c— Bureau of Meteorology, Queensland (@BOM_Qld) March 21, 2018
"Heavy rain and flash flooding could affect these areas so it's critical for residents to remember if it's flooded, forget it," she said.
At 8pm Friday, Cyclone Nora (pictured) was a Category-3 system about 425km west-northwest of Weipa tracking southeast.
The Bureau of Meteorology said the cyclone was likely to intensify early tomorrow near the town of Pormpuraaw. Gale force winds of up to 170km/h were expected in the region.
RHM Cairns have issued a RED alert for Weipa, Thursday Island, Amrun and Skardon River - with destructive winds forecast.
This alert means the port is closed, and vessels are not to leave their cyclone moorings until the official all clear is given by RHM Cairns.
Only emergency movements are permitted during a red alert.