Boats are being ripped from their moorings and washing up on
beaches as north Queensland battens down for a huge tropical
The tropical low is about 250km northeast of Townsville and
is already packing winds of 120km/h.
The storm is expected to form into a category one cyclone on
Thursday afternoon, before it makes landfall somewhere
between Lucinda and Proserpine in the early hours of Friday
The Bureau of Meteorology says residents should prepare for
damaging wind gusts, heavy rain, which may cause flash
flooding, and damaging waves from a dangerous storm tide.
Mayors of the region were preparing on Thursday and said they
were most concerned about a king tide that's forecast to
combine with the storm surge on Friday morning.
Whitsundays Region Mayor Jennifer Whitney said coastal
residents were on alert and local harbours and marinas have
"In Bowen it's very windy, some boats have actually washed
up, broken their anchors," she told AAP from Proserpine.
The storm is due to make landfall in the town of Ayr, and
local disaster management co-ordinator Trevor Williams said
potential flooding was his biggest concern.
"But we're hoping and expecting it (the water level) not to
be high enough to go into houses," Mr Williams told AAP.
Hinchinbrook Mayor Rodger Bow said the region should be just
out of the firing line, but said the main town of Ingham
could be flooded.
"It is on the cards because we expect a lot of rain," he
"But our river is down low and it's been dry, so it all
really depends on just how much rain is dumped on us."
Palm Island Mayor Alf Lacey said the island community would
have its own unique challenges to deal with and it did not
have a cyclone shelter.
"The biggest problem with any low pressure system is rain
that comes with it," he told AAP.
"The double whammy for us is if the system moves across in a
high-tide situation, then that creates issues for general
community infrastructure in low-lying areas."
The state's Fire and Emergency Services is urging people
living in the zones to prepare their properties and listen to
advice from authorities.