Severe weather warning issued for heavy rain, damaging winds
A PENDING cyclone in the Coral Sea has prompted a severe weather warning to be issued for the Whitsundays.
Early Thursday morning the Bureau of Meteorology said a low pressure system is currently located just off the east coast of Cape York Peninsula, and is forecast to move south-eastwards further into the Coral Sea today.
A strong ridge of high pressure lies along the southern and central Queensland coast and the combination of these features is expected to produce gusty winds and possible heavy falls in the warning area.
BOM said damaging winds of up to 90km/h are being observed around the most exposed parts of the Whitsunday Islands, with Hamilton Island Airport recording a peak wind gust of 89km/h at 9.44pm Wednesday night.
Damaging winds are expected to develop along other exposed coastal locations and elevated terrain in the warning area from Thursday afternoon.
A flood watch is currently ongoing for the Peninsula and coastal catchments of Proserpine and further north, including Bowen and Ayr.
It is expected rainfall will largely clear the flood watch area by early Friday as the tropical system moves south-eastwards away from the Queensland coast.
Queensland Fire and Emergency Services advises that people should:
* Move your car under cover or away from trees.
* Secure loose outdoor items.
* Seek shelter, preferably indoors and never under trees.
* Beware of fallen trees and powerlines.
* Never drive, walk or ride through flood waters. If it's flooded, forget it.
* Keep clear of creeks and storm drains.
* For emergency assistance contact the SES on 132 500.