Cyclone Nora downgraded to tropical low but it may not be over yet

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk gets a briefing from Police Deputy Commissioner Bob Gee about Nora's likely path.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk gets a briefing from Police Deputy Commissioner Bob Gee about Nora's likely path. Photo: AAP

Flooding rain from ex-cyclone Nora has sparked more than 100 calls for help in far north Queensland.

Low lying parts of Cairns have flooded, and in the tourist town of Port Douglas, water has crept up to the doors of some holiday apartments.

Landslides and debris also closed roads in the region, including the Captain Cook Highway north of Cairns.

In just a few hours, 130mm of rain fell in some locations, with the wild weather caused by the low pressure system that was Cyclone Nora, hundreds of kilometres to the west.

The SES has dealt with more than 100 calls for help in the Cairns and Port Douglas areas and more rain is expected, with a flood watch current from Cape Tribulation, north of Port Douglas, south to Townsville.

On Monday morning, the low pressure system that was Cyclone Nora was almost stationary, sitting over the land between the Gilbert River Mouth and Karumba on the Gulf coast.

The system could move back out over the water on Tuesday, but conditions in the Gulf of Carpentaria are not considered favourable enough to allow the low to reform into a cyclone.

The cyclone has been downgraded to a category 1 storm after crossing the western coast of Cape York early on Sunday and is expected to continue to weaken to a tropical low.

There have been no reported deaths or injuries in the remote region.

Nora’s whirling mass of raging winds roils the Gulf of Carpentaria.  Photo: BoM

“Thankfully everyone is safe at this time,” Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk told reporters after a briefing on Sunday morning.

The Bureau of Meteorology said gulf cyclones are very unpredictable and it could restrengthen as it moves towards the Northern Territory.

“The event isn’t over, people still need to listen to authorities in those areas,” Emergency Services Commissioner Katrina Carroll told the press conference.

Many roads were covered in water, with Commissioner Carroll reminding drivers “as always if it’s flooded forget it”.

An Ergon Energy spokesperson said the community of Pormpuraaw lost power on Sunday morning after being lashed by the cyclone with destructive winds pulling down power lines.

Ergon Energy crews flew in on Sunday and have started restoring power in the region.

Four schools will be closed on Monday due to the damage including Pormpuraaw, Kowanyama, Karumba and Burketown.

The cyclone is tracking southwards over land near the western Cape York Peninsula coast and is located near Kowanyama, on the western side of Cape York.

Cape York communities are reeling under the impact of Nora’s fury.

Nora crossed the coast as a category 3 storm early on Sunday, bringing destructive winds and heavy rain.

But the Bureau of Meteorology downgraded the cyclone to a category 2 at 4am AEDT and category 1 later that day.

BoM regional director Bruce Gunn said the cyclone will downgrade to a tropical low on Monday but could restrengthen.

“There’s a lot of uncertainty still around this forecast and some days to go before we can say a final farewell to Nora,” he said.

The Queensland Disaster Management Committee met on Sunday morning to discuss the ongoing response.

SES leaders and extra police have been deployed to remote communities to assist but when Nora hits it will be too dangerous for anyone to be outside, he added.

Swift water rescue crews have also been stationed along the western Cape York coast.


Topics: Cyclones
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