Tropical Cyclone Warning – UPDATE #4

Department of the Chief Minister

Tropical Cyclone Warning – UPDATE #4

12 December 2018

Wednesday, 12 December 2018
Issued at: 1830hrs CST

Cyclone shelters have been opened for people in Borroloola and Numbulwar as Tropical Cyclone Owen strengthens and has the potential to reach a Category 3 system by early tomorrow morning.

Schools in those areas won’t open on Thursday as they are being used as public shelters.

“People moving to the public shelters will need to bring their own food and bedding and any essential items in their cyclone kit. No pets will be allowed,” Regional Controller Travis Wurst said.

Residents between Port Roper and Alyangula on are being urged to take shelter as worsening conditions affect the region in the next 6-12 hours, while those in the Bing Bong and King Ash Bay residential areas are being evacuated to Borroloola.

The (BOM) has a Warning in place from Alyangula in the to Burketown in Queensland. The Warning has been cancelled between Cape Shield and Alyangula. A Watch is in place east of the Queensland border for other Gulf communities.

“We’ve been in regular contact with communities around the to make sure they’ve finalised their preparations. This includes making sure their cyclone kits are well stocked, and they know where to take shelter if they don’t think their home is strong enough to withstand gale force or destructive winds,” Regional Controller Wurst said.

The Bureau of Meteorology says gusts up to 130 kilometres per hour have been recorded and TC Owen could reach Category 3 strength by tomorrow morning. Winds gusts associated with a Category 3 cyclone can reach up to 224 kilometres per hour.

Regional Controller Wurst said residents in the Groote Eylandt and Borroloola regions, including Port Roper and Port McArthur should finalise their plans and preparations and move inside as conditions deteriorate.

“You can expect heavy rains and destructive winds along the coast, which will get worse as TC Owen picks up strength.

“Gales associated with TC Owen are forecast to increase from 110 kilometres per hour around Groote Eylandt to destructive or very destructive winds by the time it reaches Port Roper and Port McArthur,” he said.

“People in that area can expect winds from 130 kilometres per hour to 170 kilometres per hour early tomorrow.

“To put that in context, winds that strong can damage roofs and structures, destroy caravans and cause power failures. There could also be dangerous airborne debris.”

There are marine wind warnings in place for the Roper Groote Coast and emergency services are advising people in the region to take shelter and delay their travel.

Rainfall totals could reach up to 250 millilitres in isolated areas and there may be storm surges in the Port McArthur coastal region between 0.5 and 1 metre.

“We don’t want people out and about in these conditions,” Regional Controller Wurst said.

“They are incredibly unsafe and we don’t want to put the lives of emergency services personnel at risk because people have made poor decisions.”

People seeking tips on cyclone preparedness online can visit Secure NT: https://securent.nt.gov.au/prepare-for-an-emergency/cyclones or the Northern Territory Emergency Service website: http://www.pfes.nt.gov.au/Emergency-Service/Public-safety-advice/Household-emergency-planning.aspx

The BOM website has the most recent warnings and weather advice: http://www.bom.gov.au/nt/warnings

Media Contact

Jessica Tapp

0476 835 348

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