Department of the Chief Minister
Severe Tropical Cyclone Owen – UPDATE #8
13 December 2018
Severe Tropical Cyclone Owen is causing very destructive winds along the Gulf of Carpentaria coast between Port Roper and Bing Bong (Port McArthur) as it slowly tracks north this afternoon.
The Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) says the near-stationary system may reach Category 4 strength later today. At the moment, communities along the coast may be experiencing gusts up to 205 kilometres per hour near the eye of the cyclone as it straddles the coastline.
“At the moment we’re asking people to contact their friends and neighbours to make sure they’re well into their planning for Severe TC Owen,” Regional Controller Travis Wurst said.
“Borroloola locals who spent last night in the public shelter are replenishing their cyclone kits, as the system may hug the coast before moving east.
“We’re also sending extra police officers to town to provide relief for the local members who have been doing an excellent job getting the community ready over the past couple of days.
“The advice from the Bureau of Meteorology is that Severe TC Owen is likely to spend the next few hours moving through the region this evening. While people might not see the effects of the cyclone yet, they can be assured there is a risk it may head their way.”
A Warning is in place for Numbulwar in the Northern Territory through to Aurukun in Queensland, including Borroloola. There is a Watch in place for parts of Queensland extending inland.
Flash flooding is a concern for parts of the Gulf south of Numbulwar with heavy rainfalls likely around the coast between 150 and 200 millimetres, although some areas may receive up to 400 millimetres.
“We want people to stay out of and off the water as Severe TC Owen approaches,” Regional Controller Wurst said.
“Now is not the time to check your crab pots or go surfing.
“With high tides peaks due in the area from 7:30pm, there are concerns about dangerous storm tides, with damaging waves and coastal flooding possible.”
The Borroloola and Numbulwar public shelters will remain. People planning to spend the night in those shelters should head there before conditions deteriorate and take food and bedding with them as part of their emergency kits.
The schools being used as the public shelters will not be open for students for the last day of term.
Emergency services are warning people not to drive in the region as weather conditions worsen.
“Police, NTES volunteers and other emergency services personnel are busy trying to make sure locals are prepared and safe,” Regional Controller Wurst said.
“Their time is better spent focussed on that, rather than being diverted for car crashes or bogged vehicles.”
“Do not drive unless it is to a shelter, we don’t want people on the roads.
“As the winds and rain increase, make sure you slow down, turn your lights on and drive to conditions.”
Information on cyclone preparedness is available at SecureNT: https://securent.nt.gov.au/prepare-for-an-emergency/cyclones
A list of what should be included in a kit can be found on the Northern Territory Emergency Service website: http://www.pfes.nt.gov.au/Emergency-Service/Public-safety-advice/Household-emergency-planning.aspx
Current weather warnings and advice can be found online at the BoM website: http://www.bom.gov.au/nt/warnings
0476 835 348