Tropical Cyclone Jasper and Impacts to Douglas Shire

The place for TC Jasper event Information including impacts, response, recovery and updates.

 
 

Daintree Coast Road Update

Cape Tribulation Road & Cape Tribulation Bloomfield Road

Roads

Water

About the Event

Ex-Tropical Cyclone Jasper made landfall on December 13, 2023 but it was the associated weather event that followed which had devastating consequences for the Douglas Shire.

3.2 metres of rain was recorded in less than a week and a total of 4.2 metres in the space of two months.

The entire Shire was impacted with major flooding, landslips, overnight evacuations, homes destroyed, water infrastructure, and roads collapsing.

Response and Recovery

Douglas Shire Council has led the response and recovery efforts, standing up the Local Disaster Management Group (LDMG) for initial response and recovery. The LDMG consists of local and state agencies including Council, Queensland Police, Queensland Ambulance Service, Queensland Fire and Rescue Service, State Emergency Service, the Coastguard, Queensland Health and Tourism Port Douglas Daintree.

Refer to the timeline below to view the recovery and response actions undertaken.

The Landslips

While the immediate priority was preservation of life and delivering essential supplies to remote communities, the region was also facing some new and long-lasting challenges associated with more than 100 landslips.

The landslips hit our community hard on two fronts – roads and water.

Roads

What’s happened to the roads?

Tropical Cyclone Jasper made landfall as a Category 2, delivering the equivalent of two years of rain in just one week. This caused significant damage to Cape Tribulation Road and the Bloomfield Track.

Repair crews were on site 21 December 2023, and due to the extent of the damage, permanent repairs are estimated to take until at least the end of 2024.

Landslips blocked roads and isolated communities including Cape Tribulation and Degarra.

The management of these landslips has been incredibly complex, with tension fractures and wet season conditions causing further instability and the need for intensive monitoring, and unavoidable short notice closures.

What’s being done to manage the reopening of the roads?

Teams of experts have been able to secure key restoration sites along Cape Tribulation Road, including a nearly 60-metre high landslide at Noah Range, is providing a safe and trafficable road.

The landslip scars that remain on the Shire’s mountainous terrain remind both locals and visitors of what transpired in December 2023 but Council continues to look forward as the recovery from disaster continues.

Water

What’s happened to the water supply?

Our once pristine catchments were inundated with mud and debris and as a result the filtering systems at Mossman and Whyanbeel water treatment plants became clogged. At the same time the network’s pipe took a battering as rivers rose and the ground became saturated, causing several significant breaks within the system.

The impact on water-supply is still felt

Widespread water outages followed and these disruptions have continued, albeit less frequently, in 2024.

It could be years before sediment levels in our untreated water returns to pre-Jasper levels.

What’s being done to manage water supply?

Plans are in place to replace the plants’ filter membranes, to install a new pipeline between Mossman and Whyanbeel and to introduce temporary treatment plants which will shore up water security in the short term.

An investment in water tanks at public toilet blocks, showgrounds and sporting clubs is also aimed at improving the community’s resilience during water outages.

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