Cyclone Oma to intensify into the weekend

22 February, 2019, 14:22 | Author: Sherry Houston
  • Cyclone Oma 19/2/2019 15:51

A cyclone watch for Queensland's southern coast has been cancelled but category one Oma is still making its presence felt as it sits offshore.

Oma would re-intensify to Category Two through today and continue moving in a generally south to south-westerly into early Saturday.

Beaches along Australia's east coast close as Cyclone Oma draws nearer. Oma may intensity later today to cat 2-expected remain well off the southeast Qld coast. The cyclone could slow on Saturday and change course to a more north or northwest direction.

Large swells coinciding with king tides are expected to cause widespread erosion, and communities from Bundaberg in Queensland to Ballina in NSW are under a cyclone watch. Abnormally high tides & risky surf conditions continue. A Hazardous Surf Warning is also current.

Swimmers, fishers and boaters in Queensland have been warned to stay away from the waters for at least until the weekend is over.

But that doesn't mean the state will be spared its effects, with warnings issued for high winds and risky swell coinciding with king tides along the east coast from Thursday.

Brisbane City Council's depot was stocked with 57,000 sandbags according to the Lord Mayor Graham Quirk.

After that, its behaviour is less predictable.

"We are starting to see the main swell packet from Oma starting to arrive on the south coast of Queensland now", Mr Hall told ABC radio.

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"That's likely to increase in the next couple of days". High tides and hazardous conditions for surfing are already being observed.

Elsewhere, P&O's Pacific Explorer - which was due to go from Sydney to Moreton Island on Thursday - instead got diverted and went south to NSW Sapphire Coast, centred on Eden, while Carnival Spirit, operated by Carnival Cruise Lines, was due to take the same route on Saturday, but will now go south to Phillip Island in Victoria.

He said for Nelson to get rain, it needed a strong northerly.

Authorities are warning people not to panic but to prepare themselves and their properties for a weekend of wild weather. Gale force winds are also possible about elevated terrain near the New South Wales border during Friday.

"The chance of Cyclone Oma hitting is less likely now, however it can't be ruled out", BoM forecaster Kimba Wong said.

Blazak said there was still uncertainty about which path the storm will ultimately take, but it could make landfall on the weekend.

Modelling performed by the BoM predicts the storm will remain off the coast before tracking north.

In a statement online, the Bureau of Meteorology said: "Abnormally high tides and unsafe surf conditions are expected along the southern Queensland coast over the next few days and into early next week".

The longer the storm lingers, the more damage it is likely to cause as waves as high as six metres have been seen along the shore. "Don't go out it's too risky and you'll have nobody to rescue you", he said. "But that would be maybe a better scenario than if it lingers off the coast".

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