CYCLONE ANTHONY’S “big ugly sister” Cyclone Yasi is tearing down on Queensland and Capricorn Coast residents are being urged to prepare for possible evacuation.
The massive cyclone will hit the Queensland coast on Thursday morning as a category three or four cyclone and all indications are that it will cross over between Innisfail and Proserpine in northern Queensland.
However Rockhampton Region Acting Mayor Rose Swadling said a storm surge, driven by the high tide on Thursday, and heavy rainfall could occur on the Capricorn Coast even if the cyclone was not in close proximity when it crosses.
“Residents in Stanage Bay, Zilzie, Keppel Sands and other low lying or exposed coastal communities need to prepare for possible evacuation or isolation due to storm tide surges and flash flooding,” she said.
The Bureau of Meteorology last night forecast damaging winds between Cooktown and Yeppoon this morning and reported that wind gusts near the centre of the cyclone had reached 185km/h and were intensifying.
The cyclone could bring rain falls of up to one metre in Central Queensland.
Councillor and Queensland Tropical Cyclone Consultive Committee member Bill Ludwig urged residents not to be complacent.
“Although the tracking puts it further north please do not be complacent about this...it’s better to be safe than sorry,” he said.
Queensland Premier Anna Bligh said the cyclone was possibly one of the largest the state has ever seen.
Residents on the coast were busy securing their boats and belongings yesterday.
Keppel Sands resident Dan Norton, who lived through a cyclone in the area 27 years ago, said it was a “terrifying” experience.
“The main thing was the wind just howling...upstairs the windows were rattling.”
Mr Norton, who has been closely following Cyclone Yasi, said it had the potential to be “mean one”.
The council will today issue a letter with advice on dealing with the cyclone threat to 500 residents in coastal areas who are at risk of storm tide surges.
Sand piles will also be available to residents at various locations on the coast and Rockhampton today for people to fill sandbags.
The Bully’s rural weekly forecaster Mike Griffin said the region could see about 90ml of rain in the next 42 to 48 hours.