Communities across the Northern Territory are bracing for the impending tropical Cyclone Trevor after it slammed north Queensland towns with damaging winds and torrential rain.
Cyclone Trevor is expected to cross into the Gulf of Carpentaria on Wednesday before making landfall on the eastern side of Cape York Peninsula in the coming days.
“There is high confidence that Trevor will reach severe Tropical Cyclone Strength in the Gulf. NT residents right around the Gulf need to take this seriously and be prepared,” the Bureau of Meteorology said.
The cyclone is expected to weaken to a category one system as it crosses Cape York Peninsula before re-intensifying on its way towards the Northern Territory.
Warnings are in place for Orford Ness to Cape Flattery, extending across the Cape York Peninsula to Pormpuraaw and Mapoon, including Weipa and Coen.
Additional emergency crews, including specialist swift water rescue firefighters, have already been deployed to the region.
Some north Queensland communities remained in lockdown on Wednesday morning with roads and schools closed after the tropical storm made landfall just south of Lockhart River on Tuesday evening.
Cyclone Trevor slammed into the north Queensland coast with ferocious winds of more than 200km/h, ripping trees from the ground.
The powerful category three storm made “howling” landfall at 5pm on Tuesday just south of Lockhart River, one of a handful of towns on the Cape York Peninsula that was urged to remain indoors until the storm passed.
“It’s howling out there,” said Lockhart River Mayor Wayne Butcher told AAP just as the storm bore down on the town.
“There is a lot of trees going down around the place, there’s been a few trees landing on buildings already and we’ve got another few hours of strong winds.
Just before 8.30pm, Mr Butcher said the storm was “still roaring, it hasn’t stopped”.
“Especially now that it’s dark and we can’t see anything, it’s a bit nerve wracking, all we can hear is the wind whistling,” he told AAP.
The storm went through a smaller scale “wobble” which led to it becoming fairly slow moving when it was right on the coast, a Bureau of Meteorology spokesman said.
The bureau forecasts the storm will weaken as it crosses the Cape York Peninsula and moves into the Gulf of Carpentaria, but will re-intensify as it heads towards the Northern Territory.
Businesses, schools and roads are closed throughout the area and the State Emergency Services has deployed crews in towns likely to be affected by the storm’s wide path.
Heavy rains are likely to cause many areas to flood with particular warnings for the Daintree and Mossman Rivers.
According to Sky News Weather channel meteorologist Rob Sharpe, the impact of cyclone Trevor will be felt further south as it heads towards the Peninsula.
“In Cairns, rain, showers and storms will be heavy at times with a weekly total most likely between 200-400mm. Townsville looks to escape the heavy falls with a weekly total likely to slot between 60-120mm.
“As we move through the week that system will move into the Gulf of Carpentaria before re-deepening into a tropical cyclone and then moving into inland areas of the Northern Territory. That’s good news for farmers in Queensland and New South Wales who will see extra moisture.”