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Cyclone Kirrily: A Menacing Encore for Queensland’s Northeast

Cyclone Kirrily: A Menacing Encore for Queensland's Northeast
Image courtesy of Bureau of Meteorology

Residents and Tourists Advised to Take Precautions

In a déjà vu scenario, northeastern Australia braces for the imminent arrival of Tropical Cyclone Kirrily, set to unleash destructive winds and flooding on the Queensland state coast, with Townsville in its crosshairs.

As the second cyclone in as many months, Kirrily follows the destructive path carved by Tropical Cyclone Jasper in December, which left a trail of havoc in its wake.

Forecast and Impacts: A Looming Threat

Tropical Cyclone Kirrily, currently a tropical low over the Coral Sea, is projected to intensify and make landfall near Townsville overnight Thursday.

The Bureau of Meteorology anticipates winds gusting up to 150 kph (93 mph) on the Australian mainland.

The coastal towns of Townsville and Mackay face the brunt of storm tides, leading to rising sea levels, damaging waves, and potential flooding in low-lying areas.

Preparations and Caution: A Long Weekend Alert

Authorities are urging residents and tourists to exercise caution, especially with the Australia Day holiday approaching on Friday.

While there’s no call for cancelling plans, vigilance is paramount. Queensland Police Commissioner Katarina Carroll stressed the importance of staying connected to avoid a repeat of the tragic loss of seven lives within two days during the previous cyclone.

Economic Ramifications: Counting the Costs

Queensland State Premier Steven Miles estimates the economic toll from Tropical Cyclone Jasper and preceding storms in December to be in the “multiple billions.”

With Kirrily poised to impact a vast stretch of the state, the financial fallout could potentially double, presenting a formidable challenge for recovery efforts.

The Aftermath: A Reminder of Vulnerability

As repair crews reopen the Cairns-Port Douglas highway after a month-long endeavour to clear landslides caused by the earlier cyclone, it serves as a stark reminder of the region’s vulnerability to nature’s fury.

Queensland, no stranger to the capriciousness of tropical cyclones, faces another formidable test.

The collective resolve of communities and the preparedness of emergency services will play a pivotal role in mitigating the impact of Cyclone Kirrily and safeguarding lives and livelihoods.