Sodden northern Australia on cyclone, flood watch

Duncan Murray |

More people could be evacuated from Australia’s flood-hit regions as another cyclone threat looms.
More people could be evacuated from Australia’s flood-hit regions as another cyclone threat looms.

Northern Australia is battening down the hatches as the Bureau of Meteorology warns intensifying activity in the Coral Sea will likely result in the formation of Cyclone Kirrily.

While the cyclone won’t be officially named until it is properly formed, the bureau expects Cyclone Kirrily to develop off the Queensland coast by Monday.

A coastal impact with Queensland is now considered more likely than not, but there still remains some uncertainty in the movement of the system.

The most likely area of impact is between around Cooktown and Mackay, probably south of Cairns.

“It is still maybe a day away from becoming a cyclone and mid-next week it is looking like tracking towards the Queensland coast,” the bureau’s Dean Narramore told AAP on Saturday.

The cyclone is expected to track south-westerly and gain strength as the week continues.

A severe impact is possible, particularly if the system crosses south of Cairns. 

On Saturday, residents celebrated the reopening of the Captain Cook Highway from Cairns to Port Douglas which was closed after Cyclone Jasper struck a month ago.

Also on Sunday, severe thunderstorms with heavy rainfall were forecast to impact Australia’s far north and northwest.

The bureau said heavy rainfall and potential flash flooding was likely to continue through the central inland, extending west towards the WA border on Sunday, and reach the Pilbara on Tuesday and Wednesday.

A fallen tree in the rain
Residents in parts of the NT and WA are being warned of more expected severe weather on Sunday. (Joshua Prieto/AAP PHOTOS)

Residents in parts of Kimberley and North Interior districts were told to get ready now for severe weather due on Sunday afternoon.

Locations which may be affected include Halls Creek, Balgo, Lake Argyle and Warmun.

Severe weather was forecast to develop over the eastern Kimberley and northern parts of the North Interior districts on Sunday night and Monday morning with scattered six-hourly rainfall totals between 90 to 150mm likely.

A flood watch was in place for East and West Kimberley and Fitzroy Rivers and Sturt Creek District.

Flooding has already forced people to flee their homes in the NT, where a flood watch and multiple flood warnings are current for the northwest and some central districts.  

Locations most likely to be affected on Sunday include Kalkarindji, Lajamanu, Timber Creek, Top Springs, Rabbit Flat and Daguragu.