Tropical Cyclone Jasper has intensified to a Category 2 storm, prompting concerns and preventive measures in Queensland. The Bureau of Meteorology has indicated that the cyclone is set to land near Port Douglas around lunchtime tomorrow, with various potential impact points being monitored closely.
As of 5 pm today, the cyclone was positioned 235 kilometres east-northeast of Cairns and 385 kilometres north-north-east of Townsville. Forecasters anticipate destructive winds reaching up to 140 km/h and heavy rainfall, potentially causing six-hourly totals between 250 and 300 millimetres and 24-hourly totals ranging from 400 to 500 millimetres.
Authorities have issued warnings for Cape Melville to Lucinda, encompassing Cairns and Innisfail and extending inland to Chillagoe and Palmerville. Approximately 15,000 residents in Cairns have been advised to evacuate, particularly those in low-lying areas, as concerns about a major storm surge heighten.
Bureau of Meteorology Senior Meteorologist Laura Boekel emphasized that the warning areas may change, urging residents to stay updated with the Bureau’s track maps issued every three hours. Boekel also highlighted the sustained nature of gale-force winds associated with a Category 2 system, capable of causing significant damage to unsecured structures and vegetation.
Preparations for Cyclone Jasper have disrupted everyday life, with Cairns Airport progressively winding down operations. Several airlines have cancelled and rescheduled flights, and residents have been seen emptying supermarket shelves as part of their storm preparations.
Queensland Premier-in-waiting Steven Miles assured residents of the state’s preparedness, acknowledging Queensland’s history of being the most disaster-affected state in Australia. Local authorities and residents are bracing for the impact of the cyclone, with concerns heightened by the fact that Cairns hasn’t experienced a direct hit from a cyclone in decades.
Residents are urged to finalize their emergency kits, secure loose items, and stay informed about evacuation procedures. The looming threat of Cyclone Jasper underscores the importance of preparedness, emphasizing that the aftermath is often more challenging than the storm itself. The affected regions actively monitor the situation, hoping for the best but preparing for Cyclone Jasper’s potential challenges.