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Tropical Cyclone Tiffany weakens after making landfall in far north Queensland


Tropical Cyclone Tiffany has weakened to a tropical low after making landfall in far north Queensland, but is expected to redevelop into a serious storm as it approaches the Top End.

The cyclone, which formed in the Coral Sea, crossed Queensland’s northern coast, Cape York Peninsula, about 90km southeast of Coen at about 2pm on Monday. There was widespread rainfall across the top of the state as it hit land and moved westward at about 12km an hour.

The storm has now weakened, but is expected to redevelop into a tropical cyclone over the Gulf of Carpentaria. According to the Bureau of Meteorology, it could ramp up into a category three storm before hitting the east coast of the Northern Territory.

Meteorologist Shane Kennedy said the cyclone could see “fairly significant rainfall” and “substantial impacts” in the Top End when it hits later this week.

“It’s something to watch,” he said on Monday evening.

In far north Queensland, the impact of the storm appeared to be limited by the “compact” system, Kennedy said, with “just a few trees down” in Cooktown.

There was widespread rainfall across the affected area on Monday, with Coen recording more than 150mm in the past 24 hours.

Warnings remain in place from Coen to Cape Melville and the adjacent inland parts of the Cape York Peninsula. Nhulunbuy near the NT/Qld border including Groote Eylandt has been placed on watch.

But warnings were cancelled between Lockhart River to Coen and Cape Melville to Cape Flattery on the eastern Cape York Peninsula, and from ​​Weipa to Kowanyama on the western side.

It was originally thought the storm may remain a cyclone as it passed over Queensland, but it has certainly weakened, Kennedy said.

Earlier, authorities were confident adequate measures were in place for Cooktown and Lockhart River.

“Our preparations are very good,” said the state disaster coordinator, Steve Gollschewski. “We have high confidence in the shelters and the structures in the areas that are impacted.

“We have factored into our planning the cases of Covid that are currently in the Cape and that is well covered in our operational planning.

“Similarly for the emergency response that may need to come afterwards if we have loss of power, we have testing of those people in place before they go in, all of that is looking pretty good at this stage.”

Queensland’s premier, Annastacia Palaszczuk, said impacted residents should keep up to date with emergency alerts from the bureau.

Other parts of Queensland have already been struck by flood waters, with one person dead and a 14-year-old girl missing as waters begin to recede in Maryborough in the south-east.

Authorities are confident adequate measures are in place for Cooktown and Lockhart River.

“Our preparations are very good,” said the state disaster coordinator, Steve Gollschewski. We have high confidence in the shelters and the structures in the areas that are impacted.

“We have factored into our planning the cases of Covid that are currently in the Cape and that is well covered in our operational planning.

“Similarly for the emergency response that may need to come afterwards if we have loss of power, we have testing of those people in place before they go in, all of that is looking pretty good at this stage.”

The bureau is warning communities to expect wind gusts of up to 130km/h as the system now sits south of Coen, near Lockhart River.

Tiffany is expected to bring destructive winds and heavy-to-intense rain to communities in far north Queensland before moving and intensifying as it moves towards the Northern Territory coast.

Severe tropical cyclone coastal impact in the NT is possible on Wednesday or Thursday, the bureau says.

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“People in far north Queensland communities will start seeing and feeling the effects of Tropical Cyclone Tiffany as it comes closer to the coast, which means an increased risk of flooding and some localised damage in these regions,” said a senior meteorologist, Dean Narramore.

Queensland’s premier, Annastacia Palaszczuk, said impacted residents should keep up to date with emergency alerts from the bureau.

Other parts of Queensland have already been struck by flood waters, with one person dead and a 14-year-old girl missing as waters begin to recede in Maryborough in the south-east.



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