Queensland’s first tropical cyclone of the season slammed into the coast on Friday, bringing torrential rain and strong winds.
Coal shipping ports in northeast Australia remained closed and residents of Airlee Beach, Mackay and Bowen were urged to take precautions as the storm bore down on the region.
Named Tropical Cyclone Dylan, the storm brought with it winds gusting up to 130kph and a powerful storm surge. This storm surge combined with a spring tide, meaning a large portion of the coast was inundated.
Even without the storm, the spring tide was expected to be one of the biggest of the year, known as a ‘king tide’ in Australia.
The storm surge forced the high water across the coastline, flooding roads, inundating homes and depositing debris across the coastal region.
Torrential rain also caused major problems. In just 24 hours, Middle Percy Island reported 179mm of rain and Mackay received 104mm. Even without the storm surge, this would have been enough to trigger flooding.
Now over land, Tropical Cyclone Dylan is disintegrating. This means the winds are easing, but the system will continue to deliver torrential rain as it moves west across Australia.
For many parts of the state the rain will be welcome. This week it was announced that Queensland’s drought has spread across 69 percent of the state, and many locations have not having seen any significant rain for two years.
Although in the short term Tropical Cyclone Dylan may bring flooding, in the long term the rain will be beneficial.