Communities located between Kowanyama and the Gilbert River Mouth are urged to put their safety first in the wake of Severe Tropical Cyclone Owen.

The Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) advised that TC Owen crossed the coast between Kowanyama and the Gilbert River Mouth at approximately 3am today (Saturday, 15 December).  

Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) Assistant Commissioner Kevin Walsh said residents should remain indoors until they’re advised by emergency authorities that it is safe to go outside or return home.

“Our priority is to help those who need assistance, and we will be on the ground as soon as it is safe for our crews to venture out,” Mr Walsh said.  

“Listen to local radio and watch the BoM website to keep up-to-date with the movement of the cyclone and learn when it’s declared safe to go outdoors.

“There is likely to be a number of hazards including fallen trees, power lines, debris and even possible structural damage to infrastructure and it is vital people do not go sightseeing and avoid damaged buildings.

“If you can return home, ensure you use only the recommended routes and under no circumstance should you attempt to cross flooded creeks or causeways.

“If electrical appliances in your home have been wet, do not use them until they’re checked for safety.”

Mr Walsh said to take the time to check on friends and family and ensure they’re safe.

“If your home or their property has become uninhabitable due to cyclone damage, contact your local council to identify where you can seek further assistance,” he said.

“Parents are urged to keep a close eye on children who may be tempted to explore the area and play in floodwaters. In Queensland, young lives have been lost from children playing in and around flood water.”

Mr Walsh said State Emergency Service (SES) volunteers had been out in force since first light to assist the community. 

“If your situation is life-threatening, ensure you call Triple Zero (000) immediately,” he said.

“Due to the demand on their workload, it could take some time for SES crews to reach you so please remain patient.”

The Assistant Commissioner also urged residents in those areas affected by flooding to remember: ‘if it’s flooded, forget it’.

“As the severe weather passes and people begin to leave their homes, we’re asking everyone to pay attention to traffic signs and road closures, so you don’t become stranded across a flooded road,” he said. 

“Driving through floodwaters is extremely dangerous behaviour and not only puts your life at risk, but the lives of rescue personnel as well.”

For storm and flood assistance contact the SES on 132 500.

For further information on how to prepare your home visit www.getready.qld.gov.au and to keep updated on warnings monitor the BoM website at www.bom.gov.au.