Far north Qld flooded, cyclone heads to NT

Marty Silk |

Three people have been rushed to hospital after their vehicle was caught in floodwaters triggered by Cyclone Tiffany in far north Queensland.

Queensland Ambulance Service says two women in their 30s and a man in his 20s were driving on the Mulligan Hwy at Desailly, northwest of Cairns, when their vehicle was swamped about 1.30am on Tuesday.

The three managed to exit the vehicle and were found clinging to a tree, before they were transported to Mareeba Hospital in stable conditions.

Tiffany was a category two cyclone packing winds of up to 130km/h when it crossed the coast of the Cape York Peninsula on Monday afternoon.

Tiffany, which has weakened to a tropical low, dumped 120mm of rain in some areas in the 24 hours to 9am on Monday.

However, the Bureau of Meteorology said the heaviest rainfall would be in the 24 hours to midday on Tuesday with up 200mm to be dumped on the region.

A flood watch has been issued for 16 rivers in the region and Cape York’s major land transport route, the Peninsula Development Rd, was likely to be shut.

“Riverine and localised flooding is likely, causing disruption to transport routes and isolation of some communities,” the BOM said in a statement.

The remnants of Tiffany were moving west over the Gulf of Carpentaria on Tuesday morning and were forecast intensify into a category two cyclone before hitting the east coast of the Northern Territory on Wednesday.

The bureau has issued a cyclone warning for the Territory’s west coast from Nhulunbuy to the Queensland border, including the island of Groote Eylandt, Numbulwar, Port Roper, and Port McArthur.

People in coastal areas between Cape Shield and Nathan River are being warned that gales could develop into destructive winds with gusts of up to 140km/h on Wednesday morning.

The BOM said people as far west as Barunga and Mataranka may experience gales of up to 100km/h with heavy rain expected to cause flooding across the Arnhem and Carpentaria districts as the cyclone moves inland.