Nora downgraded as the cost is counted
Mon 26 Mar 2018
Category 3 Tropical Cyclone Nora lost strength rapidly after crossing the coast NNW of Pormpuraaw, on the western side of Cape York Peninsula, just before midnight on Saturday 24th. It had been downgraded to a tropical low less than a day later, on Sunday afternoon, after tracking down the coast and close to the communities of Pormpuraaw and Kowanyama. By this afternoon, 26th, it was stationary over land near Karumba in the SE corner of the Gulf of Carpentaria.
Late yesterday, 25th, Queensland Fire and Emergency Services Commissioner Katarina Carroll told ABC News that emergency services had begun damage assessments. "There is certainly power outages, powerlines down and a lot of vegetation on the ground in Pormpuraaw, less so definitely in Kowanyama," she said. A local said that conditions were worst in Pormpuraaw around midnight. Power was lost to all 230 properties in Pormpuraaw with significant damage to equipment, with crews arriving there and in Kowanyama this afternoon, 26th, to begin repairs according to Ergon Energy after being delayed by weather and the need to make airstrips safe. Roads are impassable.
Fairfax Media reported that initial assessments in Kowanyama amounted to minor damage to five properties and five infrastructure items. By the time Nora passed about 50km SW of the town, it had been downgraded to Category 2. No deaths or injuries were reported in either community, a fact attributed to them being well prepared. The automatic weather station at the airport showed the pressure dropping rapidly to 985hPa at 0330 on 25th, bottoming at 983.4 at 0450 and then rising rapidly. Top wind gust was 100km/h at 0354 with frequent sustained winds (10-minute average) of 50 to 70km/h between 0052 and 0450. The airport recorded 128.2mm of rain in the 24 hours to 0900 25th, but 96.6mm of that fell between 0000 and 0300.
With Nora becoming a near-stationary tropical depression in the SE corner of the Gulf, very heavy rain moved inland. Normanton recorded 147mm in the 24 hours to 0900 today 26th, but falls to the NE and SE of the town were much higher. They included Croydon 233, Upper Walker Creek 321 and Miranda Downs Station 371.0mm, its heaviest one-day total in 115 years of observations, soundly thrashing its previous record of 232.4mm set back in February 1942. Other new records are here.
Over half a metre of rain brings flooding to QLD North Tropical Coast
Mon 26 Mar 2018
Heavy rain has also been plaguing the Tropical North QLD Coast since 21 March. The monsoon trough in which Nora has been embedded extends east across Cape York Peninsula into the Coral Sea and has been aiming moist, unstable winds onto the coast. Top falls yesterday were 185mm at Bucklands (S of Babinda) and Daintree Village while Innisfail saw 160mm, with some roads around the town and also Ingham cut. All this is falling on ground thoroughly saturated by notable flooding two weeks ago.
The rain became more serious yesterday and today with very heavy falls from around Babinda north to Cairns and into the Daintree. Port Douglas recorded a staggering 593.0mm in the 24 hours to 0900, its highest March total in over 120 years. The previous March record was 446.2mm on 5 March 2008. Black Mountain, about halfway between Port Douglas and Cairns, recorded 457 and Kuranda Railway Station 403mm. As this video by Joseph Dietz via FNQ Floodwatch & Road Conditions shows, flash flooding on the Captain Cook Highway between Cairns and Port Douglas were extreme before the road was closed by rockslides and fallen trees. The Kennedy Highway onto Kuranda Range was closed by a rockslide.
Cairns itself recorded 218mm at the airport, 114.4 of which fell in 2½ hours from 1300 on Sunday 25th. This downpour caused flooding in low-lying parts of the city, including leaving cars in a shopping centre carpark in Earlville, a southwestern suburb, bobbing about in the water. Shoppers at Rusty's Markets in Cairns CBD waded in ankle-deep water to make their purchases. The State Emergency Service received over 100 callouts in Cairns and Port Douglas. [ABC News, AAP via Guardian]