With Severe Tropical Cyclone (TC) Owen forecast to strengthen over the southern Gulf of Carpentaria tonight (Thursday), destructive wind gusts and heavy rainfall are forecast to batter parts of the state in coming days.

The category 3 tropical cyclone is currently located on the coast in the southwestern Gulf of Carpentaria between Port Roper and Port McArthur, west of Bing Bong, Northern Territory. 

The cyclone warning area encompasses communities located between Numbulwar in the Northern Territory to Aurukun in Queensland, including Borroloola, Mornington Island, Karumba, Kowanyama and Pormpuraaw.

The Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) advised that TC Owen was forecast to slowly move eastwards towards Queensland today, crossing along the south-east Gulf of Carpentaria coast as a category 4 system between Karumba to Pormpuraaw late tomorrow (Friday).

Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) Assistant Commissioner Kevin Walsh said now was the time to finalise preparations.

Prepare your family by stocking an emergency kit with essential supplies including food, water, warm clothes, medications, first aid supplies, important documents, valuables, a battery-powered or wind up radio and sleeping gear,” Mr Walsh said.

“Aside from destructive winds, this system also brings with it the risk of flooding and storm surges.

“A Flood Watch is already in place for catchments in the Gulf, southern Cape York peninsula and the tropical coast. 

“Flash flooding is likely to develop about the islands and coastal areas of the western and southern Gulf of Carpentaria from as early as today. Heavy rainfall is also likely across southern Cape York Peninsula later Friday and Saturday.

“Residents about the south-east Gulf of Carpentaria coast are warned there could be a dangerous storm tide. Tides will rise significantly above the normal high tide with the potential for dangerous flooding.”

TC Owen is expected to steer down the east coast of Queensland on Saturday and Sunday, with heavy rain and flooding likely to continue along its path.

Mr Walsh urged Queenslanders to stay up to date with warnings and weather forecasts, and follow the advice of authorities.

Never enter floodwater by foot or in a vehicle, and always discourage others from doing so too. Remember: if it’s flooded, forget it,” he said.

“Motorists should have a plan B ready in case their route is blocked by water, so plan an alternate route ahead of time or identify a safe location you can wait for floodwater to recede.”

Mr Walsh said QFES was undertaking planning activities in anticipation for TC Owen and ready to respond to affected areas.

“We have pre-deployed personnel to bolster capacity and provide support to areas in the cyclone’s path,” he said.

“We are asking the community to do their bit, too, and take the necessary steps now to ensure they are safe regardless of where they live.

“You cannot prevent severe weather events, but you can be proactive before they occur and take appropriate actions during them.”

For storm and flood assistance contact the State Emergency Service (SES) on 132 500 and in a life-threatening emergency call Triple Zero (000). 

Stay up to date with current weather conditions by visiting www.bom.gov.au and www.qldtraffic.qld.gov.au for road closures.

As reported by Newsroom of Queensland Fire and Emergency Services

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