Australia Tropical Cyclone Niran bringing wild winds and heavy rain to north Queensland
Australia's east coast set to be hit with a category THREE cyclone
Cyclone Niran is moving slowly north-east away from the coast, while damaging winds are expected to hit Cairns on Tuesday morning. A tropical low approximately 215km east of Innisfail, south of Cairns, has triggered an urgent warning, with ferocious winds of up to 120km/h predicted by this afternoon.Residents are advised to cancel non-essential travel, secure their premises, find a safe place to shelter and stay home.More than 40,000 homes have already been left without electricity after high winds caused powerlines to fall.
A low off the north Queensland coast has intensified into Tropical Cyclone Niran, bringing powerful winds, heavy rainfall and potential flooding to coastal communities.
The slow-moving system is hovering about 120 kilometres off the north Queensland coast.
Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) forecaster Rosa Hoff said the system, while remaining well offshore.
"Even though a direct coastal crossing is unlikely, we are seeing severe weather impacts out of the system already and we're going to continue seeing them over the next few days before the system starts to retract further into the Coral Sea," she said.
BOM warns Tropical Cyclone Niran expected to intensify as it tracks away from coast
Cyclone Niran is expected to intensify into a category three storm within the next 24 hours, bringing gusts of up to 100kph to coastal and island communities. The slow-moving category two system is hovering about 335 kilometres north-east of Cairns.Winds of 100 kilometres an hour have been recorded at Niran's centre, with gusts up to 140kph.The Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) updated its warning zone early this morning, with communities from Cape Melville to Innisfail now in the warning zone.The cyclone is not expected to make landfall.
"We've already seen an increase in strong wind gusts, with gale-force winds, heavy rainfall and abnormally high tides affecting coastal and island communities.
"It's going to be a long few days for the communities in the region," Ms Hoff said.
Communities between Cape Flattery and Lucinda are in the warning zone, with a flood watch issued for catchments between Cooktown and Rollingstone.
Six state schools and 28 Catholic schools have been closed.
Power cut, localised flooding
Yesterday's wild weather cut power to more than 40,000 properties from Cairns to the Cassowary Coast.
Ergon spokeswoman Emma Oliveri urged residents to be patient while crews worked to reconnect homes.
"We've got outages right across the board, which makes it all the more challenging for our crews," Ms Oliveri said.
Tropical cyclone Niran forms off Qld
A category 1 cyclone, with winds near the centre of 75km/h, was on Tuesday moving slowly northeast and away from the Queensland coast.But cyclone Niran doesn't appear to be posing a major threat so far.
"We've got a lot of damage from vegetation, damage to the network, including fallen powerlines.
"In these conditions everything is changeable, and crews may not be able to get into certain areas if roads are cut due to localised flooding."
Cairns-based State Emergency Service (SES) area controller, Peter Rinaudo, said they had received about 80 calls for help yesterday and crews were working to clear the backlog.
"We've had a fair bit of rain in the region … so the catchments and the ground are pretty soaked," Mr Rinaudo said.
"Some of our gusts getting up around the 85 to 90 kilometre [per hour] mark — it's knocking some of these trees over and pulling powerlines down.
"[We're] not being able to do much in regards to leaking roofs — when you've got 85 kilometre per hour winds, it doesn't lend itself very well to be holding a tarp down."
Video: Rescues after heavy rain hits NSW's Mid North Coast (ABC NEWS)
BOM forecasts wet autumn for some as La Niña weather system declines .
After the best rain for years in the Top End and welcome falls across much of the country, many still missed out and the risk of bushfires remains for the coming months.And the Bureau of Meteorology [BOM] autumn outlook is for wetter-than-average conditions in the east.