Surfers Dan Roe and Daniel Toms survey the storm surf at Mooloolaba Beach.
Surfers Dan Roe and Daniel Toms survey the storm surf at Mooloolaba Beach. Barry Leddicoat

Swimmers urged to stay away

POLICE are urging swimmers to stay out of the water on Sunshine Coast beaches due to large waves and choppy conditions.

In a Christmas Day statement, police urged people to stay out of the water and obey all directions by police and surf life savers.

"There are thousands of people wanting to go swimming at Mooloolaba, however due to a king tide, surf lifesavers are having to direct them out water, said District Duty Office Ray Hoelscher.

"We believe there have been several search and rescue incidents due to these rough conditions at beaches along the coast. We realize people want to go out and enjoy Christmas Day on the beach, but in these conditions it's just too dangerous."

The Coastalwatch website today reported there's a "solid 6-8ft+ of increasing ENE swell along the open beaches with only the points even looking like handling it.

"There is a lot of water moving around and surfing is for the very experienced only.

"Strong SSE winds are forecast for later in the day. A very crowded Noosa is definitely the pick, but it is maxed out and not really fitting into the bays.''

Surfcams showed plenty of surfers tackling the waves up at Noosa but elsewhere swimmers were keeping out of the water.

Beaches closed due to rough conditions

BEACHES will be closed and emergency services crews put on standby as the Sunshine Coast prepares for a wild Christmas Day.

The Bureau of Meteorology issued a severe weather warning yesterday, with unusually high tides and dangerous surf conditions predicted for all east-facing beaches.

Sunshine, Coolum, Kawana and Caloundra beaches will be closed tonight and lifeguards expect to close several more tomorrow morning.

"We will work to capacity to ensure the safety on all patrolled and closed beaches," council lifeguard services manager Scott Braby said.

"We ask that inexperienced swimmers stay out of the water and that people obey the red closure flags that will be erected on beaches affected by this weather forecast."

Ex-tropical cyclone Fina and a ridge of high pressure in the Coral Sea are causing the wild weather, with four-metre waves expected to pound Coast beaches.

Bureau of Meteorology forecaster Kev Hutchins said the swell was expected to pick up tonight and peak with a king tide early tomorrow morning.

"The severe weather warning has been issued because of the extremely dangerous conditions that will be caused by the ex-tropical cyclone," Mr Hutchin said.

"We encourage swimmers, surfers and boaters to stay out of the water."

SES crews have been put on standby and council has warned residents and businesses in the low-lying areas of the potential for flooding.

Council disaster co-ordinator Allen Rogers said the council would work closely with the SES to monitor the forecast.

"We will be monitoring the weather closely on Sunday morning when an expected high tide may cause flooding in some areas," Mr Rogers said.

"We can only be prepared for what may occur, but at this point we are not too concerned."

At Cotton Tree Caravan Park, which has been savaged by previous bouts of wild weather, manager Trent Hammill said flood warnings had been issued to residents and holidaymakers.

• Swim only between the red and yellow flags and during patrol hours - do not enter the water if a beach is closed or unpatrolled.

• Follow any direction issued by lifesavers or lifeguards.

• Obey any signage that has been displayed.

• Avoid entering the water until it is deemed safe to do so.

• Stay away from rock ledges and shelves.

• Avoid near shore boating, fishing or rock fishing.


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