Storms to smash Townsville as Cyclone Nora grows in strength
THERE has been a dramatic change to the Bureau of Meteorology’s forecast of rain for Townsville as Tropical Cyclone Nora grows in strength.
The cyclone was officially named this morning after forming off the northeast coast of the Northern Territory about 5.17am.
By midday the system had picked up strength as a category two storm and was tracking towards the edge of East Arnhem Land.
The Bureau of Meteorology said the cyclone was “undergoing rapid intensification”, and warned that “very destructive winds” with gusts up to 170kmh may develop in some areas over the weekend.
The bureau said the slow-moving system was about 260km north of Nhulunbuy at 10am and tracking east. It’s expected to shift southeast today before reaching category three. It’s moving at 4kmh.
QLD WIND MAP
The increasing intensity of Nora is expected to cause a downpour in Townsville this weekend.
Storms are expected every day until Wednesday next week.
The cyclone is bearing down on Queensland and emergency services are bracing for impacts.
“Tropical Cyclone Nora is currently moving slowly eastwards but will begin a more south-easterly path during today and Saturday into the Gulf of Carpentaria, the bureau said in a statement
Nora is expected to reach category 3 strength tomorrow and will affect weather in North Queensland including Townsville.
Forecasters were earlier predicting 30mm of rain in Townsville this weekend but are now expecting up to 120mm.
Bureau of Meteorology forecaster Livio Regano said the cyclone was a “big system with clockwise winds”.
“On the east coast of North Queensland there will be north-easterly winds coming around from the cyclone.
“They’ll crash together with south-easterly trade winds and it will be like two rivers meeting.
“That will produce a lot of turmoil and uplift.
“On the weekend we’re expecting heavy falls somewhere along the coast, most likely in the Tully and Innisfail area.
AMAZING PHOTOS OF CYCLONE MARCUS
Queensland Fire and Emergency Services personnel were liaising with remote councils likely to be impacted by severe weather in coming days, Fire and Emergency Services Minister Craig Crawford said.
Higgins Storm Chasing stated due to the narrow area between the NT and QLD coasts it was difficult to say exactly where the cyclone would.
“A majority of models are suggesting the Southern Gulf region on Sunday,” a Higgins forecast said.
Rain forecast Townsville
FOUR MAJOR WEATHER SYSTEMS
There are now four major weather systems in the north of Australia.
Along with severe Tropical Cyclone Marcus and Tropical Cyclone Nora there are two tropical lows to the north east in the Coral Sea.
Cyclone Marcus has moved off Western Australia’s north west.
ABC reported it developed into a category five system this week to become the strongest in Australian waters for more than a decade.
Cyclone Nora is expected cross into the Gulf of Carpentaria.
Models are also showing a tropical low that is bringing a lot of rain from the Solomon Islands down to New Caledonia.
Those systems are expected to move away from Australia and are unlikely to form into cyclones.
Queensland Fire and Emergency Services personnel are liaising with remote councils likely to be impacted by severe weather in coming days, Fire and Emergency Services Minister Craig Crawford said today.
Mr Crawford said QFES was working with communities from Mapoon to Kowanyama, Burketown, Mornington Island and Doomadgee.
“QFES has been advised by the Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) that Tropical Cyclone Nora could move into the Gulf of Carpentaria in the coming days,” Mr Crawford said.
“Our staff and volunteers in the Gulf of Carpentaria and far north Queensland are supporting local communities and are in constant contact with Local Disaster Management Groups to support those who could be impacted by this event.
“It is very important that residents from Thursday Island, right along the western side of Cape York and down to Normanton and the border with the Northern Territory prepare for possible strong winds and heavy rainfall.”
QFES Commissioner Katarina Carroll said the far north had resources available to deploy at short notice, should they be required.
“Strike teams made up of technical rescue firefighters with specialised swift-water capability, SES volunteers, Emergency Management Coordinators (EMCs) and senior officers are being established,” she said.
“These crews will have the ability to fly into any area requiring assistance within four hours of being notified and will be self-sustaining for 48 hours.
“Staff in Far Northern Region and Northern Region are working closely to plan and co-ordinate resourcing and are being supported by our State Operations Centre to make sure equipment and personnel are well positioned to respond quickly to any area impacted by this event.”
Member for Cook Cynthia Lui said residents also needed to be well prepared for the expected severe weather.
“If you are in these areas, make sure you take the time in the next day or two to pack an emergency kit with warm clothes, food, water, your valuables and any regular medication in case you need to relocate,” Ms Carroll said.
“Ensure you have local emergency contacts in your phone and check local council websites for information about where you can access emergency assistance or shelter if it is required.
“Talk to your neighbours and make sure they are making the necessary preparations as well,” she said.
The SES can be contacted on 132 500 but if it is a life-threatening emergency call triple-0 immediately. Queenslanders looking for tips on how to prepare for a severe weather event or for more details on emergency kits should visit getready.qld.gov.au.