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UPDATED 11:25am – 11 April 2014
Port Douglas and all areas north in the Douglas Shire is now in a Cyclone Warning Zone with gales expected within 24 hours as a result of Cyclone Ita.
As of 5pm today, Cyclone Ita has been upgraded to a Category 5 cyclone which is predicted to cross the coastline just north of Cape Flattery at 4pm tomorrow (Friday).
The Douglas Local Disaster Management Group – made up of representatives from Douglas Shire Council, Queensland Police, the State Emergency Service, Queensland Fire and Rescue Service, the Queensland Ambulance Service, Emergency Management Queensland, the Coastguard and Tourism Port Douglas Daintree – has activated preparations for the expected widespread heavy rainfall, possible storm surge and destructive winds in the Douglas Shire as a result of Cyclone Ita.
Douglas Shire Council Mayor and Chairperson of the Douglas Local Disaster Management Group Julia Leu said all residents, businesses and visitors from Port Douglas north to Cape Tribulation should have a cyclone plan ready to enact if required, particularly those in the storm tide surge zone.
“The Douglas Local Disaster Management Group is confident the community is as well prepared as you can be for such an extreme and unpredictable weather event,” Mayor Leu said.
“Advice from the Bureau of Meteorology is there will be a lot more certainty about the expected cyclone path and the associated impacts first thing in the morning.
“Based on this advice, the Douglas Local Disaster Management Group will reconvene at 9am tomorrow to finalise our preparations.
“As a precaution though the DLGMG decided to prepare to evacuate the 70-odd residents of the Port Douglas Ozcare nursing home to Malanda as they are very susceptible in the storm tide surge area.”
“The Queensland Ambulance Service will also be sending a crew to be based at Cow Bay in preparation for the cyclone to assist north of the Daintree River.
The Bureau of Meteorology expects up to 600mm of rainfall on Friday and Saturday.
The Bureau of Meteorology predicts a storm tide surge of up to two metres for areas in the Cyclone Warning Zone, particularly in the northern parts of the Douglas Shire.
There is a strong possibility the road between the ferry and Cape Tribulation will not be accessible for a period after the cyclone due to fallen trees.
It is highly likely the Bloomfield Track will not be accessible for several days as the priority will be to clear vegetation on the main road between the ferry and Cape Tribulation.
Douglas Shire Council is well prepared with crews equipped with chainsaws and backhoe equipment stationed north of the river to assist clearing the road as soon as it is safe to do so.
Crews in Mossman and Port Douglas equipped with chainsaws and backhoe equipment are also ready to be deployed to clear roads if required as soon as it is safe to do so.
A Disaster Coordination Centre will be established at Council’s Mossman Administration Building so all the agencies will be able to coordinate a response to the clean-up operation.
Sand is available for sandbagging at the SES shed in Mossman behind Council’s Administration Building in Front St, with sandbags available from midday tomorrow. People can use garbage bags as a substitute in the meantime.
Sand is also available at Port Douglas Community Centre in Mowbray St, with sandbags available from midday tomorrow.
The SES has more than 300 tarps and plenty of rope for residents and businesses in the event of any damage caused by the cyclone and anyone who requires assistance from the SES can call 132 500.
The SES also has two floodboats ready to go in the case of an emergency.
The Port Douglas Storm Tide Shelter located at the Port Douglas State School will only be activated when there is an imminent threat of storm tide inundation as a result of a cyclone.
The Storm Tide Cyclone Shelter is only for people who are at immediate risk of storm tide inundation.
Information will be on Council’s website and Facebook site should the Storm Tide Cyclone Shelter be activated.
Residents and visitors at risk of storm surge should as a priority make alternative arrangements for suitable private or tourist accommodation as the Storm Tide Cyclone Shelter provides seating room only.
Residents and visitors are urged to check the Bureau of Meteorology website www.bom.gov.au for regular updates of the anticipated cyclone path.
Council’s website has a range of information to help prepare for a cyclone as well as storm tide surge maps and Council’s Facebook site will have regular updates.
Residents can contact Council anytime on 4099 9444 to report cyclone damage or call the SES on 132 500 to request assistance for damaged property.
The Douglas Local Disaster Management Group will meet again at 9am tomorrow and further updates will follow.
Important phone numbers:
|Power Lines Down||13 16 70|
|Douglas Shire Council||4099 9444|
|Power Failures||13 22 96|
|Main Road Closures||13 19 40|