UPDATE @ March 24 2018 3pm | Residents on the western coast of Cape York are being urged to seek safe shelter, amid an emergency alert as severe Tropical Cyclone Nora changes direction.
She is currently 155km WSW off Weipa, moving south east towards the coast at about 20km/h.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has just given an update via a media briefing after meeting with the Queensland Disaster Management Committee.
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“This is a severe cyclone. What we are asking communities to do now is move into stronger housing – that means housing above the storm tide area and homes built post-1982”, Ms Palaszczuk implored.
“I’m urging all families to take this seriously. Once you are in your homes this evening, you should not leave your homes.
“Even though some of these communities are a long way from us here (in Brisbane)… (but) as Queenslanders, we are not leaving any community alone.”
Bruce Gunn from the Bureau of Meteorology explained that TC Nora is no longer expected to develop into a category 4 system, but will still bring plenty of severe condition.
“The good news is, we are no longer expecting a category 4 system to affect the Gulf, but it is still a very severe category 3 system, with very destructive winds at its core,” Mr Gunn said.
“The very destructive core of winds is about 100km wide, so that’s a large cross-section that’s going to affect that part of the coast.
“Anyone in the path should make way to solid buildings on higher ground. You can generally successfully shelter from winds, but it’s very difficult to shelter from a storm surge.”
Severe Tropical Cyclone Nora tracking southeast across the northern Gulf of Carpentaria, expected to move close to the Gulf coast in the next 12 to 24 hours. #CycloneNora Check https://t.co/rVLE6i5J4y for latest Watch and Warning areas. pic.twitter.com/TiKBTYSmyE
— Bureau of Meteorology, Queensland (@BOM_Qld) March 24, 2018
EARLIER @ March 24 2018 10am | Residents in Queensland’s far north are preparing for extreme wind gusts, heavy rain and flash flooding as Cyclone Nora intensifies into an expected category 4 storm.
The Bureau of Meteorology has forecast winds of up to 270km/h to hit Cape York, while the system will affect the area from Torres Strait to the Gulf of Carpentaria, bringing with it tidal surges that could inundate foreshores.
Towns as far south as Townsville are on flood watch, with between 200mm and 300mm of rain predicted to fall over coming days.
According to the ABC, TC Nora is expected to run parallel to the coast for several days before making landfall.
Severe Tropical Cyclone Nora tracking southeast across the northern Gulf of Carpentaria, towards the Cape York Peninsula. #CycloneNora Check https://t.co/rVLE6i5J4y for latest Watch and Warning areas. pic.twitter.com/Wiaunlkjnq
— Bureau of Meteorology, Queensland (@BOM_Qld) March 23, 2018
“At this stage, the most likely scenario is she’s going to cross the coast likely still as a severe category three tropical cyclone around the southern part of the Gulf of Carpentaria most likely on Tuesday,” senior Bureau of Meteorology forecaster Diana Eadie said.
“She’s really going to hang around the south-eastern part of the Gulf over the next couple of days,” Ms Eadie added.
“There is, of course, some uncertainty when it comes to the Gulf of Carpentaria, and it does look like she’s really going to slow down before finally crossing on Tuesday.”
Schools in the affected areas could be closed while SES leaders and extra police have been deployed to the remote communities.