Kirrily makes for the coast, tipped to reach category 3 in the process

Queenslanders are bracing for a potential category 3 cyclone forecast to cross the coast weeks after wild weather lashed the region.

Jan 22, 2024, updated Jan 22, 2024

The Bureau of Meteorology said a tropical low in the Coral Sea is expected to develop into a cyclone, which will be named Kirrily, late on Monday.

“We’re getting to a severe category 3 cyclone as we move through the Wednesday time-frame,” senior bureau meteorologist Dean Narramore said on Sunday.

Mr Narramore said it was likely to approach the Queensland coast as a severe cyclone into Thursday but there was still some uncertainty about where it would make landfall.

“While our consensus track does cross it to the south of Townsville, there’s still a range of scenarios where we could see a cross between Cairns and Mackay,” he said.

There’s also uncertainty about where the cyclone could track after it makes landfall.

Mr Narramore said it could move back out to sea or move south, possibly bringing heavy rain and damaging winds to parts of southeast Queensland.

Emergency Management Minister Murray Watt said the impact of landfall could be significant.

“We would obviously be concerned if there was to be any further impact on those areas that were already hit by tropical Cyclone Jasper and are very much still in recovery mode,” he told ABC radio on Monday.

“But really, if we’re talking about a category three system, that could have pretty serious effects wherever it crosses landfall.”

The continued weather events could also have knock-on effects on inflation, Senator Watt warned.

“There are some crops like all pawpaws, tropical fruits, which were directly impacted,” he said.

“But the additional impact is on supply chains.”

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The Palmerston Highway, which is a key supply route, has been badly damaged but Senator Watt said there were no direct signs the weather has had an impact on produce costs and inflation at this stage.

He has held discussions with Premier Steven Miles to ensure all emergency management agencies are ready and to get supply chain routes back up and running.

Flooded roads
A tropical low that caused flooding in parts of the NT is moving into WA’s Kimberley. (Darren England/AAP PHOTOS)
It comes as a tropical low that has caused widespread flooding, road closures and evacuations of some communities in the Northern Territory moves into Western Australia’s Kimberley.

Mr Narramore said the system had been “persistent” and was tracking so slowly it was “hardly moving” across the NT.

The community of Kalkarindji was warned it could be isolated as the Victoria River rose to near-record flood levels on Sunday.

Some catchments along the river received up to 370mm of rain in three days.

While the system was not expected to bring as much rain to the Kimberley as it has across the NT, a severe weather warning has been issued for the region.

Heavy rainfall and flash flooding are possible and a flood watch is in place for East Kimberley, Fitzroy River, Sandy Desert De Grey River and Sturt Creek District.

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