Ex-Tropical Cyclone Kimi has weakened to a tropical low off north Queensland but emergency services are warning people the storm is still packing very strong winds and could bring flooding.
Coastal residents have been spared the worst after the cyclone weakened from a category two system to a storm, sitting 135km north of Townsville, on Tuesday morning.
The Bureau of Meteorology said the system still had wind gusts of up to 95km/h and would bring heavy downpours to the region between Innisfail and Bowen on Tuesday and Wednesday.
The Queensland fire and emergency services commissioner, John Bolger, said ex-Tropical Cyclone Kimi still posed a risk and people should remain vigilant.
“Ex-TC Kimmy is now a tropical low sitting just off Townsville, so while our coastal crossing is highly unlikely near, we’re still well within a severe weather event – very strong winds, and a lot of heavy rain – so that flash flooding and general flooding warning remains in place,” he told Seven’s Sunrise program.
“So we ask people to remain vigilant and can I just please stress to people that if it’s flooded, forget it.”
“We still have emergency response crews in place, south from Cairns and north from Townsville, so the emergency still exists, while we’re not dealing with a tropical cyclone we’re still in a very dangerous weather pattern.”
Bolger said swift water rescue crews, helicopters and flood boats were standing by to deal with any flood rescues.
A flood watch was issued for waterways including the Mulgrave, Russell, Johnstone, Tully, Murray, Herbert, Black, Haughton, Ross and Bohle rivers.
“I know we’re Queenslanders, I know we go through cyclones every single year but please do not be complacent,” the Queensland police minister, Mark Ryan, said on Monday.
“So if you’re in those areas you need to prepare ... if it’s flooded forget it, have a plan about where you’ll be travelling, bear in mind where those river catchments are, be aware that during this event you could have flash flooding.”
In NSW, hazardous weather conditions are forecast to impact the coastline between Eden and Coffs Harbour until Wednesday. Surf lifesavers are urging the public to exercise caution when rock fishing, boating, surfing and swimming.
“A low-pressure system is making its way north up the NSW coastline and is producing high winds and large surf,” Steven Pearce, CEO Surf Life Saving NSW, said.
“We are urging members of the public not to engage in coastal activities that might put them at risk as surf conditions intensify. Please only swim at a patrolled location and if beaches are closed and the flags are down, don’t take the risk.”
There is also a threat of beach and coastal erosion with sea swells of up to three metres.