The Local Disaster Management Group has been put on ‘alert’, ahead of Cyclone Oma’s potential landfall this weekend.
While there are still a number of possible outcomes as the system tracks closer to the coast, Mayor Tom Tate says now is a time to plan and prepare.
“The alert status means we’ve doubled number of our staff up to 15, we’re tracking Oma with different scenarios, there are 20 different scenarios that it could go.
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“This is not time to panic, this is the time to plan, and in doing so, and if you want to start planning and getting ready,” Mayor Tate said.
“As far as the city of the Gold Coast is concerned, some alert areas include low lying areas like Palm Beach, Budds Beach, Paradise Point and Hope Island.
“As well as pedestrian underpasses like Q Store at Bermuda Street, Carrara Markets, Thomas Drive and Sundale Bridge,” he said.
The Council is now moving some of its 3 million cubic metres of sand from the northern Gold Coast to vulnerable spots along the coast, especially Narrowneck, with works expected to be completed within 24 hours.
Extra emergency staff will also be rostered on for the weekend, though Mayor Tom Tate urges all Gold Coasters not to take risks so as not to put the lives of others in danger.
“This is a time to be cautious and stay away from the beaches, if you want to swim, check with the lifeguards first.
“I’m told the rips on the northern beaches are a lot more treacherous so those beaches will be closed.
“The southern beaches – there’ll be waves there, but unless you’re a strong swimmer, you’ll be taking quite a bit of a risk,” Mayor Tate said.
He’s also advised all Gold Coasters to get ready, by having extra batteries in store, access to working radios and checking in on loved ones.
More decisions will be made around lunchtime tomorrow as to what action will be taken on the beaches.
“The other factor we have to take into account is the king tide, which is coinciding.
“When you add the two together, the swell can be very large,” Mayor Tate said.
The Bureau of Meteorology has released a fresh map of the system, showing it’s been downgraded to a category two system but is still moving this way.
A hazardous surf warning is still in place for the Gold Coast, as well as a severe weather warning.
The Bureau has advised of abnormally high tides, increasing seas and swells, and strong winds expected to develop along the southern Queensland coast during Friday.
As of 10.00am this morning, Cyclone Oma was a category 2 system, sustaining winds of 110 kilometres per hour at the centre, and clocking up wind gusts of 155 kilometres an hour.
It is still 1110 kilometres northeast of Brisbane, though tracking southwest toward the Gold Coast.
It’s movement has slowed from 10 kilometres an hour to 9 kilometres an hour since 6.30am today.
Acting Chief Lifeguard Chris Maynard says beaches will likely close tomorrow, especially the northern beaches, and will stay closed through the weekend.
“It’s the calm before the storm right now, it’s nice and clean, it won’t have too much effect today, though we are expecting it to build this afternoon.
“It’s looking like, from Thursday and Friday definitely, all beaches will be closed with the size of the swell for anyone swimming or getting close to the beach along the waters edge,” Mr Maynard said.