110KM winds: Cyclone Penny makes landfall

UPDATE: TROPICAL cyclone Penny made landfall between Weipa and Thud Point, and is moving east across the Cape York Peninsula, the BoM says.

The Bureau of Meteorology reported the system made landfall at 3.30pm and weather stations on the ground recorded sustained winds at the centre of 75km/h, with wind gusts of up to 100km/h.

Cyclone Penny is expected to weaken into a tropical low over Cape York Peninsula later tonight.

Earlier Bureau of Meteorology advised gales, with gusts up to 110 kmh, were occurring on the western Cape York Peninsula coast between Cape York and Aurukun.

Gales are expected to extend to adjacent inland areas of western Cape York Peninsula this afternoon and evening as the cyclone approaches the coast.

Gales may extend further south to Cape Keerweer later today if the cyclone takes a more southerly path.

Isolated damaging wind gusts may occur otherwise with monsoonal thunderstorms over the Torres Strait Islands and northeast Cape York Peninsula, and a separate Severe Weather Warning is current for these conditions.

Heavy rainfall, which may lead to flash flooding, is likely across Cape York Peninsula and parts of the North Tropical Coast today and Wednesday.

EARLIER, 1PM: HEAVY rain and gusty winds are beginning to affect the remote mining town of Weipa ahead of this afternoon's touchdown of Tropical Cyclone Penny.

The storm is approaching Weipa as a category 1 system and is expected to cross the coast between 4pm and 6pm.

Weipa Town Authority chairman Michael Rowland told the Cairns Post early signs that the storm was near were evident in the town and there was a certain acceptance among the people that severe weather was on the way.

Satellite images show Tropical Cyclone Penny as it approaches Weipa on the western Cape. SOURCE: Bureau of Meteorology
Satellite images show Tropical Cyclone Penny as it approaches Weipa on the western Cape. SOURCE: Bureau of Meteorology

"It's like there is a resignation that this is the way it is up here at this time of year," he said.

Mr Rowland said all mining operations had ceased and Qantas had announced all flights in and out had been cancelled.

He said all preparations that can be made had been made and it was now a "wait and see" situation.

 

Bureau of Meteorology’s forecast track map for Cyclone Penny at 10am on Tuesday, January 1.
Bureau of Meteorology’s forecast track map for Cyclone Penny at 10am on Tuesday, January 1.


"I think everybody is on alert and aware and has made sure everything is as secure as possible and we emergency backups are in place."

Regional harbourmaster captain Michael Barnett has issued a red alert for the Ports of Weipa and Amrun and Skardon River.

Aerial views of the township of Weipa on Cape York.
Aerial views of the township of Weipa on Cape York.

The port of Weipa and Amrun is now closed to normal movement and only emergency movement is permitted.

A Yellow Alert for the Port of Cape Flattery and Port of Lockhart, however a yellow alert for Thursday Island had been cancelled.

The Bureau of Meteorology said the Tropical Cyclone Penny was moving in a westerly direction toward Weipa at 8km/h and will cross the coast just south of Weipa later this afternoon.

Gales, with peak gusts in excess of 90km/h, are occurring on the western Cape York Peninsula coast between Mapoon and Aurukun, and may extend to remaining areas between Cape York and Pormpuraaw later today, the bureau has reported.

FILE PHOTO: Rocky Point boat ramp at Weipa.
FILE PHOTO: Rocky Point boat ramp at Weipa.


Isolated damaging wind gusts may occur otherwise with monsoonal thunderstorms over the Torres Strait Islands, and a separate severe weather Warning is current for these conditions.

Heavy rainfall, which may lead to flash flooding, is likely across Cape York Peninsula and parts of the North Tropical Coast today and Wednesday.

Flash flooding is also expected.

Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) Far Northern Region Assistant Commissioner John Bolger said it was important for locals to follow the directions of authorities and either shelter in place until the cyclone passed or relocate to a safer place if asked.

"Keep up to date with the movement and severity of the cyclone by listening to local radio and watching the BoM website," he said.

 

Bureau of Meteorology's forecast track map for Cyclone Penny on January 1.
Bureau of Meteorology's forecast track map for Cyclone Penny on January 1.

EARLIER 8.15am: Cyclone Penny has officially been named by the Bureau of Meteorology as the system in eastern Gulf of Carpentaria gathers power and tracks for the coast at 8km/h.

Pormpuraaw to Cape York including adjacent inland areas are in the impact zone of the Category 1 system expected to cross the coast near Weipa this afternoon.

Sustained winds near the centre of storm of 75km/h and wind gusts to 100km/h have been recorded.

The Port of Weipa and Port of Amrun is now closed to normal movement, with only emergency movement allowed.

The cyclone may reach Category 2 if it moves slower than expected and spends more time over water.

Queensland Fire and Emergency Service (QFES) asked Far Northern residents and visitors to prepare for heavy rainfall, damaging winds and possible flash flooding.

QFES Far Northern Region Assistant Commissioner John Bolger said it was important for locals to follow the directions of authorities and either shelter in place until the cyclone passed or relocate to a safer place if asked.

"Those who remain in place should shelter in the strongest part of the house and ensure their emergency kit is close by," Mr Bolger said.

For storm and flood assistance contact the State Emergency Service on 132 500 and in a life threatening emergency call triple-0.

Weipa Town Authority on Monday night advised all flights between Weipa and Cairns for today had been cancelled.

"Qantas has advised that all flights from Cairns to Weipa and return on Tuesday 1st of January 2019 have been cancelled due to forecast severe weather," it advised.

"The Rio Tinto charter flight has also been postponed for 24 hours pending further weather assessment. For commercial flights please contact Qantas regarding rescheduling of flights."



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