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Cyclone Hamish Moves Closer Towards Queensland

The southeast of Australia may be experiencing bushfires and now even earthquakes, but the northeast of Australia is now being faced with a massive category five cyclone:

CYCLONE Hamish – now a Category Five storm – is bringing high water and devastating wind gusts as it rumbles south along Queensland’s popular Whitsunday Islands, where tourists and residents have battened down the hatches.

Two of the north Queensland islands – South Molle and Long – have already been evacuated, but most visitors are staying on other islands with cyclone-proof resorts, like Hamilton.

The Weather Bureau says a cyclone warning remains current for coastal and island communities from Ayr to Gladstone, and a cyclone watch is current for coastal and island communities from Gladstone to Hervey Bay.

It says very destructive winds, higher sea levels and large waves are likely to hit the Whitsunday Islands this morning.

Hamish was moving off the north Queensland coast an estimated 180km north-northeast of Hayman Island and 275km east-northeast of Townsville, moving southeast at 17km/h. The Weather Bureau says Hamish poses a very significant threat to coastal and island communities along the central Queensland coast as moves parallel to the coast for the next 24 to 48 hours.

Whitsundays Disaster Management Group coordinator Senior Sergeant Steve O’Connell said preparations were well under way on the coast.

“We’ve done as much preparation as we can in the event the cyclone does come towards us,” he said.

“The critical part will be the next 12 to 15 hours.”

Damaging wind gusts are expected to affect communities between Townsville and Yeppoon on Sunday.

Areas around Mackay have been deluged with 180mm of rain since 9am on Saturday, with some suburbs evacuated due to flooding and authorities warning of road closures.

Queensland Premier Anna Bligh said Hamish could bring devastation similar to that of Cyclone Larry, a category five cyclone which wreaked havoc on Innisfail in 2006, if it crossed the coast.

“On current predictions it does appear that if this crosses the coast, it could be the worst that we have seen since Cyclone Larry,” she told reporters at an emergency briefing in Brisbane today.  [AAP]

I remember Cyclone Larry quite well because it caused the price of bananas in Australia to skyrocket when much of Queensland’s banana crops were wiped out by the storm. 

However, I think the rain from this cyclone could end up being worse then the wind considering how Queensland has already been inundated with floods already this past month.  Let’s hope for the best for everyone that is going to be effected by this cyclone in Queensland.