In the firing line: Millions of Australians brace as Cyclone Oma barrels towards the east coast – with Brisbane and the Gold Coast set to be smashed by 130km/h winds and torrential rain

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Southeast Queensland is being urged to batten down the hatches as the highly-unpredictable Cyclone Oma powers towards the coast
Southeast Queensland is being urged to batten down the hatches as the highly-unpredictable Cyclone Oma powers towards the coast

21 February, 2019 – Australia

  • Southeast Queensland is being urged to batten down hatches as Oma closes in
  • There are more than a dozen possible paths the devastating system could take
  • Major cities Brisbane and the Gold Coast are potentially right in the firing line
  • Expected to bring wild weather, 130km/h winds and 500mm of rain in on day 

Southeast Queensland is being urged to batten down the hatches as the highly-unpredictable Cyclone Oma powers towards the coast.

There are more than a dozen possible paths the system could take, with Brisbaneand the Gold Coast potentially right in the firing line.

‘There still are a wide range of scenarios at this point,’ the Bureau of Meteorology’s Bruce Gunn said.

Strong waves brought on by incoming Cyclone Oma nearly completely submerged this vehicle at Rainbow Beach on Wednesday
Strong waves brought on by incoming Cyclone Oma nearly completely submerged this vehicle at Rainbow Beach on Wednesday

Authorities are warning people not to panic but prepare, with the cyclone expected to bring wild weather, 130km/h winds and 500mm of rain in just 24 hours.

Oma was a weak category two storm early on Thursday, sitting about 950km northeast off Brisbane and is moving slowly towards the coast at around 10km/h.

It’s expected to continue its slow track towards Brisbane, but at this stage the cyclone is expected to remain offshore.

Bureau of Meteorology forecaster Adam Blazak said there was still disagreement about which path the storm will take, but there was a possibility it could make landfall at the weekend.

‘On Friday, we will see an increase in wind strength and we are expected heavy rain across the weekend,’ he said.

Forecasters said it’s less likely that Cyclone Oma will cross the Queensland coast, but people are still being warned to expect high winds and dangerous swell.

Forecasters said it's less likely that Cyclone Oma will cross the Queensland coast, but people are still being warned to expect high winds and dangerous swell
Forecasters said it’s less likely that Cyclone Oma will cross the Queensland coast, but people are still being warned to expect high winds and dangerous swell
The weather system was already bringing hazardous surf conditions and abnormally high tides

The weather system was already bringing hazardous surf conditions and abnormally high tides.

Experts have issued warnings for high winds and dangerous swell coinciding with king tides along the east coast from Thursday.

Surf lifesavers say the building swell is likely to force the closure of beaches on the Gold and Sunshine coasts.

Locals at Snapper Rocks on the Gold Coast (pictured) witnessed large surf on Thursday
Surf lifesavers say the building swell is likely to force the closure of beaches on the Gold and Sunshine coasts
Surf lifesavers say the building swell is likely to force the closure of beaches on the Gold and Sunshine coasts

Bureau of Meteorology senior forecaster Jonty Hall says Oma will maintain its slow 10km/h path towards the coast until Friday.

After that, its behaviour is less predictable.

The worst effects are expected to be galeforce winds, very high swells that could erode beaches, and the possibility of heavy rain.

‘We are starting to see the main swell packet from Oma starting to arrive on the south coast of Queensland now,’ Mr Hall told ABC radio.

‘That’s likely to increase in the next couple of days.’

Experts have issued warnings for high winds and dangerous swell coinciding with king tides along the east coast from Thursday
Experts have issued warnings for high winds and dangerous swell coinciding with king tides along the east coast from Thursday
The worst effects are expected to be galeforce winds, very high swells that could erode beaches, and the possibility of heavy rain

A severe weather warning is in place for Queensland’s east coast from the town of Seventeen Seventy to the NSW border.

‘Dangerous surf conditions are forecast to develop about the east coast of Fraser Island and Wide Bay coast north of Bargara later this afternoon and evening,’ the bureau warned early on Thursday.

‘These conditions are then expected to extend south over the remaining southeastern Queensland coast during this evening and Friday. Beach erosion is likely to continue with the hazardous marine conditions.’

There are more than a dozen possible paths the system could take, with Brisbane and the Gold Coast potentially right in the firing line
There are more than a dozen possible paths the system could take, with Brisbane and the Gold Coast potentially right in the firing line
Flood water is seen covering a street on the Gold Coast in a picture taken on Wednesday
The weather system was already bringing hazardous surf conditions and abnormally high tides
The weather system was already bringing hazardous surf conditions and abnormally high tides

The Bureau has also issued a Flood Watch from Gladstone to the New South Wales border.

While it is unusual for a cyclone to track this far south, it is not unprecedented. In 1990, Cyclone Nancy directly impacted Brisbane, but didn’t make landfall.

The storm grazed the coast near Byron Bay before moving offshore.

 

Source: Dailymail.co.uk