RESIDENTS on the Tweed Coast are being urged to prepare now for the effects of Tropical Cyclone Oma as the system creeps closer towards the east coast.
The Bureau of Meteorology issued an official Cyclone Watch on Thursday morning for coastal parts of southeast Qld and northern NSW, with gale force winds expected to develop as Oma approaches.
It’s the first time an official Cyclone Watch has been issued for the area in 29 years.
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The large Watch Zone is current for areas between Bundaberg and Ballina and is likely to be refined further as Oma gets closer, with new track maps due to be updated every six hours.
A significant east to northeasterly swell is forecast to combine with kings tides and batter beaches on the far northern NSW coast. As a result, all beaches on the Gold Coast and across the Tweed have been closed.
Residents south of the border are urged to check Tweed Shire Council’s new online Emergency Dashboard for up-to-date local information.
The Dashboard includes current weather warnings, road closures, power outages, water and sewer interruptions, as well as Council services and facilities.
It also provides links to many other useful resources to help with planning for an emergency and what to do after.
Council’s General Manager Troy Green said one of the key lessons from the March 2017 flood was the need for an improved online solution to support the Tweed community during emergencies.
“The Emergency Dashboard provides up-to-date information, useful links and contacts in the event of an emergency. It is linked to our website and is available 24/7,” Mr Green said.
“However it is important to note that unlike on the Gold Coast, Tweed Shire Council is not the main agency in an emergency – it’s the SES on 132 500.
“If the rain does comes, we reiterate the SES advice to people to not drive, ride or walk through flood water.
“While we don’t know how this weather system will play out, we’re taking action to prepare and protect Council and the community’s assets.
“If the worst doesn’t happen, this is a valuable exercise in emergency preparedness.
“We’re moving our fleet to higher ground, inspecting and preparing flood gates and levees, filling our treated water supply reservoirs and getting equipment ready to close beach access points should erosion cause big drop-offs.
“In terms of our water supply, we’re prepared for potential salt water inundation at the Bray Park Weir with blocks and sand bags in place to provide additional protection against abnormally high tides,” he said.