Tropical Cyclone Jasper is expected to impact on Queensland’s coast in the coming hours, bringing intense rain and wind with the potential for major damage.
The system was forecast to cross the coast near Port Douglas north of Cairns by Wednesday lunchtime.
Residents have spent the past days preparing for the slow-moving system to arrive, and watching, as it was reclassified up to a category 2 as it neared the coast.
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Locals have been told to prepare for flash-flooding and potentially days without power, with evacuation centres established in Cairns, Port Douglas and Cooktown.
A tropical cyclone warning was in place as of Tuesday evening for 766km from Cape Flattery down the coast to north of Townsville and inland to Chillagoe.
Tropical Cyclone Jasper is expected to impact on Queensland’s coast in the coming hours. Credit: Queensland Fire and Emergency Services
Destructive winds are set to develop between Innisfail and Wujal Wujal, intensifying early Wednesday morning with gusts of more than 140km/h.
“Winds of this strength can easily bring down tree limbs, whole trees or power lines, damaging fences, roofs and other properties,” the Bureau’s Miriam Bradbury said.
Cairns mayor Terry James urged locals to stock up and be prepared for up to five days without power.
“The roads will be cut off – potentially the power will be cut off,” he said.
“It’s been over 60 years since we’ve had a direct hit.
“There’s a lot of stories out there that say we’re protected. Well, we’re not protected.”
Queensland Fire and Emergency Services shared a warning on its Facebook page to residents in the red zone.
“Take shelter now,” the warning said.
“Consider sheltering in a strong building until the cyclone has passed.”
The system is expected to re-intensify into a tropical cyclone as it moves into the Gulf at the weekend.