Cyclone: How the morning unfolded in Gladstone
TROPICAL Cyclone Marcia is now weakening since crossing the Queensland coast, with the Bureau of Meteorology downgrading her to a category three.
At 1pm, Marcia was maintaining winds near the centre of 150 kilometres per hour with wind gusts to 205 kilometres per hour.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the eye of Cyclone Marcia was now heading directly for Rockhampton.
"The eye of this storm is heading directly towards you," she said.
"Do not be on the streets, do not be outside."
YEPPOON resident, Marrelle Osborne, who lives in Barlows Hill has explained the sound of Tropical Cyclone Marcia as something she has never heard before.
The resident who is in a double brick house said she can feel the house is shaking.
"The glass is blowing like paper," she said.
"It's howling, crashing and whistling, there is bangs.
"The water sounds like a gernie against the house, the force makes the house shudder and you can hear it, I've never heard anything like it."
UPDATE 11.50AM: Gladstone police are asking for people not to go sightseeing nor call the police station to check if they can travel.
The area around Flinders Parade and Lord St at Auckland Creek was blocked off earlier by people "rubber necking" to see the high tide.
UPDATE 11.30AM: Myra Wilson has shared this video of how things are looking at Boyne Island.
UPDATE 11.10AM: Tropical Cyclone Marcia has been downgraded to category 4, but very destructive winds are still expected near the centre.
The cyclone is 135km north-west of Gladstone, moving south at 20km/h. It is still expected to be category 3 as it moves to the west of Gladstone.
It has winds near the centre of 175km/h and gusts to 250km/h.
The cyclone is expected to continue moving south while slowly weakening through the day.
Winds of up to 160km/h are still expected to impact Gladstone.
UPDATE 11AM: A video about a cyclone featuring a cat - what more could you want?
UPDATE 10.50AM: Nathan Bettridge has posted this video to The Observer's Facebook page.
It shows that things are getting pretty wild at Barney Point.
UPDATE 10.40AM: Here's how Canoe Point at Tannum Sands is looking this morning:
UPDATE 10.30AM: Bechtel has released a statement saying the Curtis Island projects remain closed today until the weather conditions improve.
Bechtel says its camp-based residents are safe in the island's facilities, which are designed and built to withstand severe weather events.
"The safety of our employees has been our main focus leading into this event and remains so now," Bechtel said in a statement.
"Preparation work to remove or secure materials, equipment and machinery was completed yesterday well in advance of the deterioration in weather conditions."
But workers left on the island have taken to social media, saying they are nervous about the coming cyclone.
Gladstone Library has closed
Some families were keen to visit the Gladstone Library today, even with the wild weather, but the library has closed at 10.30am.
Tropical Cyclone Marcia is now 145km north north-west of Gladstone, moving at 21km/h.
It has crossed the coast near Shoalwater Bay and is moving south. Very destructive winds are expected in Yeppoon.
Winds near the centre of the cyclone are 205km/h, with gusts up to 285km/h.
Winds of up to 160km/h are expected in Gladstone later today.
UPDATE 9.30AM: Prime Minister Tony Abbott has said his thoughts are with the people of Gladstone and Rockhampton, "because these are the areas most likely to be impacted (by the cyclone)".
"I've been in contact with Premier. The Commonwealth stands ready to offer all possible assistance to Queensland," the PM said.
"We are used to dealing with the dangerous summers in this countr. It's good we've been able to get through so much of this summer without any major incidents.
"Let's hope we can get through it without too much damage and without any loss of life."
Barney Point residents stay put
Most Barney Point residents seem set to stick out the bad weather despite police doorknocking and advising them to evacuate this morning.
Long term residents are not worried about the storm being too bad, it seems, with a number saying they are more concerned about the way the water from tides and rain will drain.
There are 95 people in the evacuation centre at Gladstone Entertainment Centre.
Turkey Beach evacuation
An evacuation notice has been issued for residents living in storm tide zones 1-3 in the Turkey Beach area.
More on council's website here.
UPDATE 9AM: Tropical Cyclone Marcia is now 170km north north-west of Gladstone, moving at 20km/h.
It is still a category 5 cyclone, with winds near the centre of 205km/h and gusts up to 285km/h.
It is expected to continue moving in a southerly direction today, and will remain category 3 as it passes Rockhampton.
The bureau reports very destructive winds with gusts above 200km/h are expected to impact coastal and island communities between Shoalwater Bay and Rockhampton this morning and afternoon, including the Yeppoon area.
Destructive winds with gusts to 160km/h are expected to extend further south and inland across the Capricornia and Wide Bay and Burnett districts later today, including Gladstone.
Gales are occurring about some coastal and island communities between Sarina and Double Island Point, and are expected to extend inland to areas including Moura, Biloela, Monto, Taroom and Mundubbera during today.
Gladstone Airport has been closed.
Stockland Gladstone will be entirely closed from 10am, including all supermarkets and department stores.
At this stage the shopping centre hopes to resume normal trading hours on Saturday.
The Bruce Hwy from Benaraby to Rockhampton is open with caution, but there's high winds and moderate rain.
The Burnett Highway from Mount Morgan to Rockhampton is open with caution, with some small loose rocks scattered on sections of the road.
Blackgate Road, Wooderson and Ferguson Road, West Stowe are closed. There is water over O'Conner Road, Benaraby.
UPDATE 8.45AM: All waste transfer stations and Benaraby Landfill will be closed today.
Parkrun also has been cancelled for tomorrow.
UPDATE 8AM: Tropical Cyclone Marcia is now 105km east of St Lawrence and 85km north north-west of Yeppoon, moving at 20km/h.
It is currently moving onto the Capricorn coast near Shoalwater Bay, north of Yeppoon.
It is expected to continue moving in a southerly direction over land close to the coast during today.
Very destructive winds with gusts above 200km/h are expected to impact coastal and island communities between Shoalwater Bay and Rockhampton this morning and afternoon, including the Yeppoon area.
Destructive winds with gusts to 160 km/h are expected to extend further south and inland across the Capricornia and Wide Bay and Burnett districts later today, including Gladstone.
Heavy rainfall is already occurring about coastal and island communities between St Lawrence and Double Island Point, and is expected to extend further inland across the Capricornia, Wide Bay and Burnett, and the eastern parts of the Central Highlands and Coalfields districts later today.
A flood watch is current for the area.
Stockland Gladsotne won't be fully open for trade until at least 11am today, or until the cyclone has safely passed.
However, access to the centre will remain open, and supermarkets and discount department stores will continue to trade as usual at this stage.
Stockland Gladstone will continue to monitor the situation and advise of any changes as they occur.
Please check our Facebook page for the most up to date changes to the situation.
Rubbish collection cancelled
Council's waste collection contractor has advised rubbish collections won't be completed today.
An assessment will be completed at a later time to determine when the missed collections will occur.
Residents are asked to remove their bins from the footpath and secure them.
UPDATE 7.30AM: Gladstone Mayor Gail Sellers has advised the decision has been made to ask residents in zone one, two and three of council's flood zone, and the Boyne Island Caravan Park, to voluntarily evacuate.
Police and SES members are door knocking in those areas.
A council statement said there were are several hundred houses affected so the council was urging residents in these zones to find alternative accommodation immediately with family or friends.
Cyclone Marcia's intensity has strengthened with the expected landfall closer to Yeppoon than previously thought.
Flood zone maps for Gladstone, Boyne Tannum and Agnes Water are at the bottom of this story.
The red shaded area is zone 1 (most affected) and the brown is zone two.
Properties subject to evacuation:
Gladstone: Barney Point: Moura Cres; Callide Cres; Wood St; Barney Street west between Palmer and Friend Street; Yaralla Street (ocean side); southern end of Perhouse and O'Connell Streets (right through to Brisbane St) near tidal flats.
Palm Drive area: Melbourne Street, cul-de-sac head (6 houses at end of cul-de-sac); Starmer Court intersection with Palm Drive (three houses); Mylne Street (Palm Drive end - both side); Ellen Street; Ailsa Street; Dudley Street; northern end of Rossella Street from Dudley Street to Side Street; Side Street from the intersection of Rossella Street to Kent Street (excluding the last two properties on the Kent Street side); Murray Street to Gray Street.
Lord Street: All properties along Lord Street opposite the Marina Bridge from the corner of Rollo Street to Goondoon Street and five properties back along Central Lane and Glenlyon Street; units along Flinders Parade opposite the Gladstone Yacht Club.
Boyne Island: Boyne River mouth: Island Esplanade (both sides); Wyndham Avenue (from river side of Wyndham Avenue from Olunda Street to Arthur Street; Wyndham Avenue (Nos 55 - motel); Tarcoola Drive (river side from Malpas to Salgado - not the eight houses at Salgado end); Seal Street; Alexander Street from the Tarcoola Drive end to Seal Street; Richmond Court (seven properties on Alexander Street end); Polmaise Street (two houses on either side of the road at Alexander Street end); The house on the corner of Finchley and Bevington Streets.
Jacaranda Drive: Boyne Island Caravan Park (due to anticipated wind speed).
South Trees Inlet: Properties on the inlet side of Handley Drive; Tuckers Road, McPherson Road.
Agnes Water: Captain Cook Drive: All properties bordering the creek system that winds from the Ocean north to Lady Musgrave Court and back down to Agnes Street (see map); Masthead Drive: All properties on ocean side of road; Innamincka Way (ocean side of the road).
More information is available on the council's website here.
Emergency shelters are open at the Gladstone Entertainment Convention Centre, Goondoon Street, and the Agnes Water Community Centre at 71 Springs Road.
UPDATE 7AM: The core of Tropical Cyclone Marcia is starting to impact the Capricorn coast, as the system moves to 105km north north-west of Yeppoon.
The cyclone is moving at 19km/h, with winds near the centre of 205km/h and gusts up to 285km/h.
It is beginning to cross the coast near Shoalwater Bay, and is expected to continue to move in a southerly direction.
Destructive winds are expected to impact coastal and island communities between St. Lawrence and Gladstone this morning, and inland across the Capricornia and Burnett districts later today.
Gales are occurring about some coastal and island communities between Sarina and Double Island Point, and are expected to extend inland to areas including Moura, Biloela, Monto, Taroom and Mundubbera during the day.
UPDATE 6.40AM: There's plenty more rain ahead for the Gladstone region, according to the Bureau of Meteorology.
Here's today's predicted rainfall chart:
UPDATE 6.30AM: It's all quiet in Gladstone this morning as the city awaits for the arrival of Tropical Cyclone Marcia later today.
Here's the CBD early this morning:
And looking out over the water:
UPDATE 6AM: Tropical Cyclone Marcia has picked up speed again and is expected to make landfall at 8am.
It is currently 110km/h east north-east of St Lawrence and 130km north of Yeppon.
It is still a category 5, and is moving in a southerly direction.
Cyclone Marcia is expected to be a category 2 cyclone as it moves to the west of Gladstone.
All schools in the Gladstone region will be closed today, including Catholic schools.
You can keep an eye on school closures here.
Gladstone council has advised that rubbish collection will go ahead as normal this morning.
This will be under constant review and may change at any given time.
The council's waste collection contractor will advise if and when the collections will not be completed, council says.
We don't imagine anyone is planning a shopping trip in Rockhampton today, but at this stage, Stockland Rockhampton won't open until 11am today.
This may change as the cyclone approaches.
UPDATE 5AM: Tropical Cyclone Marcia is now 120km east north-east of St Lawrence and 150km north of Yeppon.
It has picked up speed slightly, moving at 16kmk/h in a southerly direction.
Winds near the centre at 205km/h with gusts up to 285km/h.
UPDATE 4.50AM: School bus services will operate in Gladstone as usual this morning.
Buslink has advised that because the full effects of the approaching cyclone will not be felt in Gladstone until later this afternoon or evening, the decision has been made to operate all morning bus services as per normal.
The prediction is the afternoon school bus services will be brought forward, and all services will cease around mid-afternoon.
Buslink advises parents to assess their own situation when deciding to send their child to school today.
Virgin Australia has cancelled all flights to and from Gladstone until at least 9am on Friday, although this will likely be extended given Marcia is expected to make landfall at 10am.
Qantas has warned travellers to check their flight status directly, with Marcia likely to affect flights to and from Gladstone.
A number of Gladstone flights already have been cancelled, with the earliest flight out of Brisbane at this stage leaving at 10.55am, and the earliest leaving Gladstone at 12.40pm, subject to change.
4AM: Tropical Cyclone Marcia has intensified to a category 5 and has started moving south.
It is expected to be a category 3 cyclone when it moves over Rockhampton.
Marcia is 130km north-east of St Lawrence and 180km north of Yeppoon, moving at 13km/h.
It is expected to continue moving in a southerly direction towards the Queensland coast, and make landfall between St. Lawrence and Bundaberg later this morning, at this stage around 10am.
The cyclone currently has winds of 205km/h near the centre with gusts to 285km/h.
This is expected to increase to gusts of 295km/h when it crosses the coast.
Destructive winds are expected to extend further across coastal and island communities between St Lawrence, north of Rockhampton, and Gladstone this morning, and inland across the Capricornia and Burnett districts later today.
Gales are now occurring about some coastal and island communities between Sarina and Double Island Point, and are expected to extend inland to areas including Moura, Biloela, Monto and Mundubbera during Friday.
Abnormally high tides will be experienced this morning with water levels expected to rise substantially above the highest tide of the year on the high tide.
Ambrose State School on Gentle Annie Rd will be closed today.
Agnes Water Child Care Centre and Discovery Coast Family Day Care also will be closed, along with C&K kindergartens in Gladstone and Biloela, St Stephen's Lutheran Kindergarten and Trinity College Kindergarten.
Gladstone PCYC and CQUniversity's Gladstone campuses will be closed today, along with the Transport and Main Roads customer service centre.
Awoonga Dam is 10cm over the spillway at 40.1m. At this stage there are no road closures in the area.
The storm tide prediction has been increased to one metre above the highest astronomical tide at 9.27am at Agnes Water and 10am at Gladstone.
Properties in Gladstone council's storm tide zones one and two remain the only ones affected at this stage.
Council is advising residents to be vigilant on the roads.
Areas most likely to be affected by the storm tides are Hanson Road Industrial Estate in Gladstone; Wood Street, Barney Point; Island Esplanade, Boyne Island and the residential areas east of Captain Cook Drive at Agnes Water.
Gladstone storm tide map:
Boyne Tannum storm tide map:
Agnes Water storm tide map: