Department of the Chief Minister
Tropical Cyclone Owen – UPDATE #7
13 December 2018
Thursday, 13 December 2018
Issued at: 0845hrs CST
Tropical Cyclone Owen has intensified to a Category 3 system as it sits just off the coast of Bing Bong (Port McArthur).
The Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) says TC Owen has been near stationary along the Gulf of Carpentaria’s south west coast for the past couple of hours. Sustained winds of around 150 kilometres per hour have been recorded at the eye of the cyclone.
“The advice that we have from the Bureau of Meteorology is that TC Owen will develop further as it straddles the coast this morning before it starts moving towards Queensland later today,” Regional Controller Travis Wurst said.
“We’ve been told it could intensify to a Category 4 system in the next six hours.
“Because the system has slowed down and is staying in the area, we’ve been in contact with the community at Ngukurr to ensure that locals are prepared for the strong winds in the region.
A Warning is in place for Numbulwar in the Northern Territory through to Aurukun in Queensland, including Borroloola. A Warning for the area between Alyangula and Numbulwar, including Groote Eylandt has been cancelled. There is a Watch in place for parts of Queensland from Karumba to Coen.
“No-one took up the option of staying in the Numbulwar public shelter overnight, but we’re leaving it open just in case. The shelters at Borroloola are also still open and we’ve had around 125 people access them since last night. There are no current plans to open public shelters at Ngukurr.
“Schools in those areas are closed while the buildings are being used as shelters. We want people heading to those shelters to bring their cyclone kits with them, including food and bedding.”
Areas along the coast are forecast to receive rainfalls of between 20 and 30 millimetres per hour. This could lead to falls of 120 to 200mms which could see flash flooding in the region.
Gale force winds are predicted along the coast and for Borroloola later today, with the possibility of destructive winds.
“People in the region can expect to see power failures, roof and structure damage and destroy caravans.
“If it gets up to a Category 4 system, that would mean there would be destructive to very destructive winds, which can see significant building damage. Caravans could be blown away and there could be dangerous airborne debris and widespread power failures.
“The southern end of Groote Eylandt had the most wind overnight with estimated gusts of around 90 – 125 kilometres per hour knocking down some trees and there was a small amount of rain, less than 50 millimetres,” Regional Controller Wurst said.
The advice from emergency services is not to travel in the area unless it is to a public ashelter. Motorists should slow down, turn on their lights and drive to conditions.
People in the region should finalise their cyclone plans and preparations as soon as possible and take shelter as conditions deteriorate.
A list of what residents should include in their emergency 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
Cyclone preparedness information is available at SecureNT: https://securent.nt.gov.au/prepare-for-an-emergency/cyclones
For more information on weather warnings go to the BoM website: http://www.bom.gov.au/nt/warnings
0476 835 348