Tropical Cyclone Jasper: Fear crocodiles could wash into streets of Cairns, Queensland
As Cyclone Jasper bears down on Queensland, Cairns locals are preparing for wild winds and sea surges in the tropical city.
But they could face another threat, with fears that some of the area’s notorious saltwater crocodiles could wash into city streets when the storm hits.
Forecasters have warned of “life-threatening flash flooding” with a month’s worth of rain tipped to fall in just six hours.
The storm is set to make landfall on Wednesday afternoon and “shelter in place” orders are in effect across the state.
‘Salties’ are a fact of life in the north of Queensland and local tourism operator Richard Berman-Hardman from Cairns Skyrail Rainforest Cableway said this storm could bring them into urban areas.
Cairns is no stranger to tropical storms and the city is criss-crossed by a drainage system to help the city cope with heavy rainfall.
Berman-Hardman warned it could have other consequences.
“Cairns is built for cyclones,” he told Channel 10.
“One thing that makes it easy for us to recover from them is that there are waterways and drains right through town, so everything kind of joins up when there are big rains, so it’s not out of the question but probably unlikely.
“I guess you’ve seen snakes on a plane, let’s just hope there’s no crocs on the cableway by the end of tomorrow.”
There’s precedent for seeing crocs in town, with previous weather events bringing the animals out of their normal home in coastal creeks.
Authorities were forced to issue warnings during Cyclone Owen in 2018 when crocodiles began to appear in the streets of Far North Queensland.
“There are a lot of crocodiles that are being sighted at the moment so be careful on the roads and please don’t go near the crocodiles,” then-Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk told residents at the time.
Queenslanders prepare for category 2 Cyclone Jasper
Tropical Cyclone Jasper is due to cross the Queensland coast as a category 2 system on Wednesday, testing days of preparations by residents and authorities.
Strong winds driven by Tropical Cyclone Jasper are expected to hit the far north Queensland coast in coming hours, bringing intense rain and the potential for major damage.
The full force of wind gusts up to 140km/h are due late on Wednesday morning ahead of Jasper crossing the coast between Cooktown and Port Douglas, north of Cairns, on Wednesday afternoon or early evening, AAP reports.
Residents have spent the past few days preparing for the slow-moving system to arrive.
It’s classified as category 1 as it nears the coast but is still forecast to cross as a category 2 storm.
As of early Wednesday, Jasper was about 180km northeast of Cairns and 180km east of Cooktown.
While Jasper is expected to intensify to category 2 before making landfall, it should weaken quickly as it moves inland and over Cape York Peninsula, the Bureau of Meteorology said on Wednesday.
Locals have been told to prepare for flash flooding and potentially days without power, with evacuation centres established in Cairns, Port Douglas and Cooktown.
A tropical cyclone warning is in place for Cape Melville to Cardwell, including Cairns and Innisfail and extending inland to include the Atherton Tablelands, Chillagoe and Palmerville.
The cyclone is currently packing gusts of up to 120km/h and moving west at 7km/h.
”Winds of this strength can easily bring down tree limbs, whole trees or power lines, damaging fences, roofs and other properties,” the bureau’s Miriam Bradbury said.
Cairns Mayor Terry James has urged locals to stock up and be prepared for up to five days without power.
”The roads will be cut off – potentially the power will be cut off,” he said.
”It’s been over 60 years since we’ve had a direct hit.
”There’s a lot of stories out there that say we’re protected. Well, we’re not protected.”
More than 100 emergency personnel have been deployed out of Brisbane to boost local crews on the ground. The system is expected to re-intensify as it moves into the Gulf at the weekend.
Article written by (NZ Herald, www.nzherald.co.nz. Original article)