Coral Sea tropical low 'unlikely' to intensify into cyclone, but heavy weather still on the way
Tue 13 Mar 2018
A tropical low in the Coral Sea is continuing to move towards Queensland's south-east, but the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) says it is unlikely to intensify into a cyclone.
But gale-force winds and dangerous surf are still expected to impact the southern coastline from Wednesday.
The system is about 1,300 kilometres north-east of the Sunshine Coast and will keep tracking south on Tuesday, but is not expected to cross the coast.
On Tuesday afternoon, BOM forecaster Dean Narramore said winds would pick up on Tuesday night around the Fraser Island coast area.
"By the time we get to tomorrow morning, we'll start seeing the winds really pick up around the Sunshine Coast region before extending across all of south-east Queensland coastal waters by Wednesday evening," he said.
"The high tide Wednesday morning could see a number of areas approach the highest astronomical tide of the year, but the bigger threat is probably Thursday morning, where we could see a number of locations exceed the highest astronomical tide of the year for some parts, so we could see some low-lying inundation for those areas."
Mr Narramore said the system was unlikely to produce clean conditions for surfers.
"You're going to have the waves and the wind coming from the same direction and it's going to be very chaotic and messy as well, so it's going to lead to some high surf, lots of foam and just really generally chaotic and messy conditions out in the waters Ã¢â¬â especially from late on Wednesday right until late on Thursday."
The state's top surf life-saving officials are meeting on Tuesday afternoon to discuss whether the Queensland State Championships will go ahead this weekend at Maroochydore beach.
More than 1,500 competitors from across Queensland will take part in the three-day event, which is due to start on Friday.
Earlier, forecaster Rick Threlfall said the system would come "fairly close" to the south-east Queensland coast.
"It'll still be around about 300 kilometres offshore during Thursday and Friday, but we will start to feel the effects of that during tomorrow, particularly later on in the day on the Sunshine Coast and then into the evening on the Gold Coast we'll see the surf really starting to pick up," he said.
Mr Threlfall said a dangerous surf warning had been issued for Wednesday, with forecasts of abnormally high tides.
Sunshine Coast Council disaster management coordinator Kathy Buck said at this stage, not much rain was predicted beyond about 50 millimetres over the next few days.
"There is a severe weather warning out for heavy surf, which we are obviously observing, and Surf Life Saving Queensland advised they will be looking at the beaches, whether or not they close those over the next couple of days. However at this stage, we're looking at probably just the high winds," she said.
"We're just basically advising people to stay away from the water at this stage and it's not safe to go swimming or rock fishing Ã¢â¬Â¦ be aware of the situation and just to maintain their safety around those beaches.
"Tides may be a bit above normal, however they're not expected to go above any of those low-lying areas at all."
The State Emergency Service was getting sandbags prepared in case they were needed, and at least 25 residents in the Redlands City Council have already taken some home.
Flood clean-up continues in Ingham
Meanwhile, the as the flooded Herbert River continues to recede in north Queensland.
But with floodwaters lingering in other areas including Halifax and Cordelia, the Hinchinbrook Shire Council said it would be weeks until things were back to normal.
Mayor Ramon Jayo said essential infrastructure like water and sewerage had been spared, but there had been considerable damage to roads.
"Our main priority at the moment is to get everything clear and try and get everyone back to work and get life back to normal," he said.
Cr Jayo said the community was looking forward to putting the flood behind them.
"We're a pretty resilient mob up here Ã¢â¬â this is not strange Ã¢â¬â they know what needs to be done and they just get in and do it," he said.
"There's no sooks around here Ã¢â¬â roll up your sleeves and just hop in and get the job done."
Meanwhile, Katter's Australian Party MP Nick Dametto said he made a mistake choosing to drive through floodwaters in Ingham over the weekend.
The state member for Hinchinbrook was fined $150 and lost three demerit points after ignoring the road closures between Ingham and Townsville on Sunday.
Queensland's Fire and Emergency Services Commissioner Katarina Carroll and Emergency Services Minister Craig Crawford are touring north Queensland's flood-affected regions.
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