Woman walks her dog past floodwaters in Cairns in December 2023.
Further support has been announced to help the far north of Queensland recover from cyclone damage. Image by Joshua Prieto/AAP PHOTOS
  • flood

Battling region hit again by heavy rain, cyclone threat

January 12, 2024

Still reeling from wild weather, far north Queensland is bracing for more flooding with another cyclone threat looming.

All roads are closed north of the Daintree River near Cairns due to landslips and rockfalls after again being hit hard by heavy rain.

Daintree village has recorded 234mm of rain, with the Bureau of Meteorology warning there is a chance of more downpours on Friday night.

Overnight rain damaged a supply main, prompting water restrictions for Port Douglas, Mossman and Newell Beach areas.

The far north is still recovering from record flooding caused by Tropical Cyclone Jasper just weeks ago.

Premier Steven Miles said the work that had already been done in the region would have residents well prepared for the predicted drenching.

“This has always been our concern that weather events struck before the proper wet season had started,” he said.

“We’ve been working to get those communities back and ready for when more bad weather strikes and now we have these forecasts that it will be coming.

“The work that we’ve done to get the roads reopened, to get the power back on, to get people back into their homes or crisis accommodation will have them well prepared.”

There are flood warnings for six rivers across north Queensland.

A monsoon trough in the Gulf of Carpentaria may form a tropical low on Friday, with a low chance of developing further into a tropical cyclone on Sunday.

Flood damaged belongings at Machans Beach in Cairns (file image)
 The wet weather has returned as communities try to rebuild in Cyclone Jasper’s aftermath. Image by Brian Cassey/AAP PHOTOS 

“If the conditions are right and these systems stay over water long enough they may deepen into tropical cyclones,” the Bureau’s Miriam Bradbury said.

“Whether or not they do become tropical cyclones, we are still expecting a heavy rainfall and flooding risk across northern parts of Australia.”

Record flooding caused by Jasper destroyed homes and prompted the evacuation of about 300 people from Wujal Wujal.

Cairns Mayor Terry James said he was concerned more flooding would impact his region with heavy rain set to coincide with king tides.

“This can lead to significant amounts of fast-flowing water rushing into our water systems,” he warned.

Wokers help clear up storm damage in Mount Tamborine
 More than 121,000 people in Queensland have received some million in recovery payments. Image by Jono Searle/AAP PHOTOS 

Mr James predicted it would take up to two years to repair the damage from recent floods.

Federal Emergency Management Minister Murray Watt hoped the latest wet weather did not derail the far north’s massive recovery effort.

“Even without possibly more cyclones, there is more rain forecast for those areas … so there is a risk of some more minor flooding,” he said.

“Our motto is always ‘hope for the best and prepare for the worst’ and that’s what people are doing now.”

Residents hit hard by Jasper have another four weeks to apply for financial assistance.

More than 121,000 people across the state have already received almost $22 million in disaster recovery funding.