Children walk through flood waters near Redlynch in Cairns.
Flooded roads have hampered access to towns in the aftermath of Tropical Cyclone Jasper. Image by Brian Cassey/AAP PHOTOS
  • weather

Cyclone Jasper weaker but floods remain a threat

Laine Clark December 15, 2023

More rain is forecast for a flooded far north Queensland already hit by everything from a tropical cyclone to a string of break-ins.

About 15,000 people are still without power while flooded roads have hampered access to towns in the aftermath of Tropical Cyclone Jasper.

The category 2 system hit the Queensland coast north of Cairns on Wednesday night before weakening to a tropical low.

The weather system is at moderate risk of strengthening into a cyclone again mid-next week.

A car drives along a flooded road.
 Residents of far north Queensland have been told to expect more heavy rain in coming days. Image by Brian Cassey/AAP PHOTOS 

The immediate threat may be over but locals still have plenty of concerns with heavy rain to continue for days.

The low is slowly moving toward the Gulf of Carpentaria, “almost grinding to a halt” on the northern peninsula.

“Because things are moving so slowly that means areas along the east north tropical coast have continued to get heavy rainfall,” a Bureau of Meteorology spokesperson said.

The area has received 150mm to 200mm of rain in the past 24 hours.

“Most had already had at least 200mm of rain the 24 hours before that so it’s a lot more wet weather,” the spokesperson said.

“It looks like it will rain pretty steadily for the rest of today, the majority of tomorrow with even further rain on Sunday.”

The most significant falls were at Cairns, Port Douglas and the Daintree with the latter receiving almost 800mm in the past 48 hours.

There is a severe weather warning for the north tropical coast, northern goldfields, upper Flinders, Tablelands, Peninsula and Gulf Country.

Locals have been warned the Daintree River may reach a major flood level of nine metres on Friday night.

There are also moderate to minor flood warnings for the Mossman, Barron,  Mulgrave, Russell, Tully, Murray and Herbert rivers.

Electricians work to restore power in Cairns after Cyclone Jasper.
 About 15,000 people are still without power in the aftermath of Tropical Cyclone Jasper. Image by Brian Cassey/AAP PHOTOS 

People have been told to avoid floodwaters and stay inside as emergency services clean up, with crocodiles and snakes expected to be on the move.

There have been other threats, with a number of businesses north of Cairns hit by break-ins during blackouts when the cyclone struck.

At one stage more than 43,000 properties were without power with  500 energy crews sent north to help restores services.

People are starting to leave evacuation centres after about 100 were forced to flee their homes.

However, there are still multiple road closures including the Captain Cook Highway north of Cairns.

The Cairns airport has reopened despite nearby floodwaters and the hospital is back to full service.

The Queensland Reconstruction Authority has begun to assess damage after state-federal disaster assistance was announced.

Recovery funding has been made available for Cairns, Cook, Douglas, Yarrabah and Wujal Wujal regional councils, with personal hardship assistance also on offer for some areas.