Cyclone called Kirrily predicted to form on Tuesday

Severe weather update

Source: Bureau of Meteorology

Queensland’s north is bracing for the first wild impacts of an intensifying tropical low over the Coral Sea, which is expected to form into a cyclone on Tuesday afternoon.

The system, which “is likely to become a tropical cyclone late on Tuesday”, will be named Cyclone Kirrily, the weather bureau said.

On Tuesday morning, it was 850 kilometres east-north-east of Townsville and moving slowly towards that city.

The first effects could be felt as early as Wednesday as Queensland’s second cyclone of the season bears down on the coast.

Cyclone Kirrily is predicted to intensify to category three before hitting the Queensland coast on Thursday and having a potentially “severe” impact.

It is tracking to make landfall south of Townsville, population 180,000, where it could cause destruction as a more intense cyclone than Jasper which hit the far north in December.

“Sustained gale-force winds, winds up to 120km/h, heavy rainfall and flash flooding are all possible,” meteorologist Miriam Bradbury said.

“This may bring down trees and power lines, cause property damage, closing roads and access routes and potentially even lead to power failures.”

The broader watch area extends from Innisfail to Airlie Beach, and residents have been warned to prepare.

“Keep your car topped up with petrol, make sure you have a power pack for your phone, as when we see events like this that do cross the coast, it’s up to 72 hours sometimes before emergency services can get out and assist you,” state disaster coordinator Shane Chelepy said.

Coastal residents between Townsville and Mackay are specifically warned of the dangerous storm tide as the cyclone crosses the coast.

The sea is likely to rise steadily up to a level well above the normal tide, with damaging waves and flooding of some low-lying areas close to the shoreline.

“People living in areas likely to be affected by this flooding should take measures to protect their property as much as possible and be prepared to follow instructions regarding evacuation of the area if advised to do so by the authorities,” a BOM warning on Tuesday morning said.

‘Depression’ to hit SEQ

But the danger won’t be over after the cyclone crosses.

By Friday the system is expected to become an inland rain depression, set to trigger heavy inland rainfall that may track toward south-east Queensland on the long weekend.

“Even as the rainfall eases we’re likely to see widespread flooding impacts following this system moving inland as the tropical low does,” Bradbury said.

With a public holiday on Friday, Chelepy urged anyone with long weekend plans to keep up to date with weather warnings.

“We are aware that a lot of people will be on our roads and through our campgrounds,” he said.

“It is absolutely critical … if you are between Innisfail right down to the Sunshine Coast and south-east Queensland that you stay connected.”

Far north Queensland is still recovering from record flooding caused by Cyclone Jasper. It was a category two system when it hit the state last month.

-with AAP

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