Cyclone Nora expected to get to Category 4 says Premier

The Premier speaks about cyclone Nora from the Emergency Services Building in Brisbane.

The Premier speaks about cyclone Nora from the Emergency Services Building in Brisbane.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk is warning Gulf communities to stay safe as Cyclone Nora escalates from its current category 2 status to a category 4 cyclone by Sunday.

“I’m impressed with the level of preparedness in our remote communities around the Gulf,” Ms Palaszczuk said in a media conference Friday afternoon.

“We’ve heard firsthand from the Mayors the message has been getting through and we are satisfied the message has been getting out at the local level.”

The Premier said they did not know exactly where the cyclone was going to cross but the warning area stretched from Elcho Island to Cape Shield, including Nhulunbuy and Pormpuraaw to Thursday Island, including Weipa.

That includes Doomadgee, Burketown, Karumba and Normanton in North West Queensland

“There could be some tidal surges associated with the winds and we will get more modelling out to the mayors overnight,” the premier said said.

“There hasn’t been a cyclone that has crossed that area of the state since 2001 and it has escalted quickly to category 4”.

BOM’s Queensland State Manager Bruce Gunn said TC Nora was 560km west-north-west of Weipa heading south-east at 11km an hour.

“In the centre the winds are about 95kph with sustained winds up to 130,” Mr Gunn said.

“It’s a rapidly intensifying situation, the cyclone was only named this morning as a category 1 system, we are already into category 2 and by early Sunday we are expecting it to reach 4 status in the vicinity of Pormpuraaw.”

Mr Gunn said the warning areas stretched from Thursday Island to Pormpuraaw where gales of up to 170kph as the cyclone approached the coast but the track was an “uncertain situation”.

Latest cyclone track.

Latest cyclone track.

“It’s hanging around the southern Gulf for some days to come,” he said.

There is a flood watch in place for all Gulf rivers with possibly daily rainfall totals of 100-200mms in some parts.

QPS Deputy Commissioner Bob Gee asked people not to be complacent and advised tourists to seek help from authorities.

“Going out in a boat, going out in a car, those things don’t make a lot of sense,” Dep Comm Gee said.

“Taking risks is not a smart position as of tomorrow morning.”

This story first appeared on The North West Star

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