Central Queenslanders are bracing for the worst as category five Cyclone Marcia looms in the Coral Sea as remote Arnhem Land communities prepare to examine the damage wreaked by Cyclone Lam, which crossed the coast early Friday.
At 6am (AEST), Marcia was 130km north of Yeppoon and 110km north-northeast of St Lawrence, heading south at 18km/h, with sustained winds of 205km/h and gusts to 295km/h anticipated when it crosses the coast north of Yeppoon around 8am (AEST).
A cyclone shelter at St Lawrence was forced to close amid fears it couldn’t withstand Marcia’s power, with about 90 people moved from it to nearby Sarina.
Residents between Sarina and Double Island Point have been warned to take shelter in a safe place, and police have been doorknocking low-lying parts of the Capricorn coast urging people to leave.
A massive storm surge is expected because of the ferocious winds.
This is likely combine with a king tide due around 10am to inundate coastal areas, while hundreds of millimetres of rain are expected from the Capricornia coast south to northeast NSW.
Bureau of Meteorology senior forecaster Sam Campbell said the situation is extremely dangerous.
‘There’s likely to be significant damage to roofs, buildings, debris flying through the air, widespread power failures and really the potential for widespread destruction over the warning area,’ he told the ABC.
The risk was communities between Sarina and Double Island Point, but the focus was on the area from St Lawrence to Bundaberg, where current forecasts have the cyclone making landfall soon.
In the Northern Territory, category four Cyclone Lam crossed the coast between Milingimbi and Elcho Island around 2am (CST) on Fridaywith gusts up to 250kim/h.
NT police spokesman Jason Gates told AAP the cyclone had reached the remote communities of Galiwinku, Milingimbi and Ramingining, about 560km east of Darwin.
‘We’re probably looking at a thousand souls that have been directly impacted by this,’ Mr Gates said.
He said authorities were having difficulty communicating with the hit areas and more would be known about damage there at first light.
‘Everyone in those communities is heads down and it’s still dark,’ he added.
At 5am (CST), Lam was moving inland – and was 40km south of Milingimbi and 80km southwest of Galiwinku – at 9km/h.
Winds of more than 230km/h would continue near Milingimbi and Ramingining until it moves inland, where heavy flooding is expected and gales may occur at Bulman, Groote Eylandt and Port Roper on Friday afternoon.