Tropical Storm Kirrily has been elevated to a category three ‘severe’ cyclone as it nears the coast of Queensland.
The intensity of Tropical Cyclone Kirrily has been elevated to a category three hurricane and is projected to make landfall on the Queensland coast in a matter of hours, bringing with it intense precipitation and wind speeds reaching 170km/h.
On Thursday afternoon, the cyclone was upgraded to a category three storm and is expected to make landfall on the Queensland coast later tonight.
A classification of “category three” is defined as a “severe tropical cyclone” and has the potential to bring extremely damaging winds reaching 224 km/h.
The storm known as Cyclone Kirrily is projected to reach land between Ingham and Bowen near Townsville, bringing severe wind gusts of 170km/hr at the core of the cyclone.
The premier of Queensland, Steven Miles, announced that the government has taken proactive measures by declaring a disaster and seeking aid from the federal government and other states. He assured, “We are fully prepared and equipped for the potential worst-case scenario.”
According to Miles, the SES has already received 146 requests for help on Thursday morning, with the majority involving sandbagging.
Jenny Hill, the mayor of Townsville, announced that a meeting for local disaster management was held by the council on Thursday morning.
She stated that the council will release an urgent notification urging individuals to stay indoors starting at 2pm in the local time zone, as wind gusts exceeding 80km/h were predicted. It was anticipated that they would remain indoors until Friday morning.
Hill stated that they do not want individuals present at the sandbagging sites, so they will need to be shut down. If anyone still needs to collect any remaining items, it should be done immediately.
As of Thursday morning, the cyclone was positioned 420km east-north-east of Townsville. According to AEST 4PM, it was calculated to be 120km east northeast of Townsville and 325 km north northwest of Mackay. The Bureau of Meteorology reported that the cyclone was moving at a speed of 22 km/h.
Following its arrival on land, it was predicted to diminish in strength as it journeyed further inland and traversed central Queensland.
The Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) issued a warning stating that all communities within the designated zone are in danger of experiencing heavy rainfall and potential flash floods in the upcoming days.
The bureau predicted that there will be dispersed precipitation of approximately 300mm within the next 24 hours, as well as a storm surge along the coastline from Townsville to Mackay.
Residents of Magnetic Island should ensure that they have enough boiled drinking water to last at least three days in case of power outages.
The deputy commissioner, Shane Chelepy, stated on Thursday that heavy rain and strong winds are predicted in the next 12 hours as per the state disaster coordinator.
According to Chelepy, 50 people living in Townsville’s low-lying regions have voluntarily left their homes to stay with loved ones. He also reported that over 40,000 sandbags have been utilized for protection.
Chelepy advised us to avoid using roads at this moment and to take necessary measures to ensure our safety.
“If you are feeling unsafe in your residence, we urge you to relocate to one of our designated evacuation centers or cyclone shelters. It is best to do this as soon as possible, rather than waiting until tonight when we anticipate powerful winds and heavy rain during the nighttime hours.”
The Bureau of Meteorology reported wind speeds reaching 120km/h on Hamilton Island in the Whitsundays on Thursday. They have stated that they will be providing emergency updates every hour.
Over 120 schools in northern Queensland were shut down as a safety measure in anticipation of the approaching weather event.
Before noon on Thursday, nearly 1,000 households in Townsville were experiencing a power outage, while 460 households in the Whitsundays were also affected.
The Water Police were present in Townsville and the Queensland Police Service had 180 officers available for deployment.
Chelepy stated that he plans to seek advance aid from the federal government for aviation assistance in areas such as rescue operations and heavy-duty transportation.