Communities located along the southeast Gulf of Carpentaria coast are being asked to take shelter as Severe Tropical Cyclone (TC) Owen reaches landfall, which will generate destructive wind gusts up to 200km an hour. 

The Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) advised that as at 3pm Friday, TC Owen was expected to strengthen and intensify to a category 4 system prior to making landfall between Gilbert River Mouth and Pormpuraaw tomorrow morning.

The cyclone warning zone stretched from the Northern Territory / Queensland border to Aurunkun, including Mornington Island, Karumba, Kowanyama, Pormpuraaw, Croydon and adjacent inland areas. 

The cyclone watch area extended to inland areas Karumba to Cape Keerweer, including Georgetown and Chillagoe.

Flood Watches are in place for catchments in the Gulf of Carpentaria, southern Cape York Peninsular and coastal catchments from Cape Tribulation to Rainbow Beach, as TC Owen brings more tropical rainfall to already saturated catchments. 

Areas of heavy rainfall, which may lead to flash flooding, are expected to occur about the coast and islands along the southern Gulf of Carpentaria coast and across southern parts of Cape York today.

Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) Assistant Commissioner Kevin Walsh said the best option for residents was to seek shelter in their residence until the cyclone had passed.

“Turn off all your electricity, gas and water and unplug all appliances, bring your family to the strongest part of the property and ensure your emergency kit is close by,” Mr Walsh said. 

“Stay inside until you have received official advice that the cyclone has passed. Some people are not aware of the calm eye of the cyclone and mistakenly venture outside thinking that the threat has passed.”

Mr Walsh said while QFES personnel would be on hand to help the community after the cyclone had crossed, it was important the community was patient. 

“Our personnel in the warning areas will bunker down in the coming hours and will be limited in their capacity to respond to calls for help as the cyclone nears the coast,” he said. 

“You should prepare yourself for this period as it could be for some time. We will always put the safety of our staff and volunteers first during adverse weather conditions, when it is too dangerous to be out on the roads.”

Mr Walsh also reminded residents affected by flooding to remember: ‘if it’s flooded, forget it’. 

“Heavy rain, which may lead to flash flooding, is possible in the coming days across large parts of the state as the system tracks south, so it is essential residents do not enter flooded roads and causeways,” he said.

“Don’t put your life and the lives of your rescuers in danger.” 

For storm and flood assistance contact the State Emergency Service (SES) on 132 500 and in a life-threatening emergency call Triple Zero (000). 

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.