May 21, 2019

Tropical Cyclone Oma: warning issued for Queensland and northern NSW

22 February 2019, 12:10 | Edward Lowe

The swell was picking up at Alexandra Headland and The Bluff on the Sunshine Coast

The swell was picking up at Alexandra Headland and The Bluff on the Sunshine Coast

"Seas and swell are also expected to increase well ahead of the approach of Cyclone Oma, and these conditions present a danger for even the most experienced swimmers and surfers - so it's safest to stay out of the water".

BOM has issued a hazardous surf warning for the region stretching from 1770 to the Queensland border with the likelihood of a risky surf warning to follow in the days ahead.

Oma has weakened to a Category One system overnight with sustained winds of 85 kilometres an hour and gusts of 120 kilometres.

Queensland water police on Wednesday issued a warning to swimmers, fishers and boaters to stay out of waters and away from risky areas for "at least the next five days".

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

The Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) warned there would be abnormally high tides and risky surf into early next week.

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"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.

On the Gold Coast, council crews have begun removing sand dune fencing from vulnerable beaches expected to cop the worst of massive swells expected to roll in.

'These conditions are then expected to extend south over the remaining southeastern Queensland coast during this evening and Friday. Are you prepared for the weather event?

This weather may result in a number of hazards, including beach erosion, fallen trees and local or wider flooding.

A flood warning has been issued for catchment areas in the coastal regions along with a few interior parts between New South Wales border and Gladstone to prepare them for heavy showers in view of Cyclone Oma.

The longer it stays offshore, the greater the potential damage to beaches as waves of up to six metres pound the shoreline, he said. The storm may linger off the coast only.

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"A severe weather watch is now in place for Friday and Saturday for upper parts of the North Island, as warm tropical air is expected to bring rain with potentially heavy falls to Northland and north Auckland", says meteorologist Rob Kerr.

Monday will be dry with the winds dropping off quickly in the morning as a high pressure builds.

The cyclone's sudden change of direction has amplified the risk.

Forecasting images showed "the range of likely tracks of the cyclone centre" but this is "uncertainty associated with tropical cyclone forecasting", the Bureau website advises.

Have you felt the effects of the cyclone yet?

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