Queensland’s north is battening down the hatches with Tropical Cyclone Kirrily expected to make landfall on Thursday night.
The strengthening system is predicted to cross the coast as a category two cyclone, between Ingham and Bowen, bringing destructive winds and torrential rain.
Gusts of 140km/h are forecast for the region between Ayr and Bowen, extending north to Ingham and including Townsville, and possibly south to Proserpine and the Whitsunday Islands.
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The Bureau of Meteorology says intense rainfall that could cause “dangerous and life threatening flash flooding” is possible after the cyclone crosses the coast.
Kirrily was 420km east northeast of Townsville and 405km north northeast of Mackay at 4am (AEST) on Thursday and tracking west at 17km/h.
After hitting the coast in the vicinity of Townsville, the system will weaken to a tropical low and move inland, bringing heavy rain to central and western Queensland from Friday.
The storm is due to make landfall late on Thursday. Credit: Bureau of MeteorologyKirrily is travelling in a southwesterly direction off the north Queensland coast on Thursday. Credit: Bureau of Meteorology
“Tropical Cyclone Kirrily is expected to continue strengthening as it tracks west southwest towards the Queensland coast,” the bureau said on Thursday morning.
“The system is likely to cross the Queensland coast tonight, in the vicinity of Townsville, as a category two system.
“In the longer term, the system is likely to track further inland as a tropical low, resulting in heavy to intense rain to parts of the northern interior and western Queensland.”
– With Warren Barnsley