The Coomera river is seen cutting Clagiraba Road
Some 650,000 people in the Gold Coast council area are eligible to apply for hardship grants. Image by Dave Hunt/AAP PHOTOS
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Severe weather warning for border as ex-Kirrily lingers

February 3, 2024

Northwest regions already battling floods are preparing for another soaking this weekend, with ex-Tropical Cyclone Kirrily set to return.

After hammering the region days earlier, the former cyclone is set to pass through again with heavy rain before tracking south along the Queensland-Northern Territory border.

A severe weather warning has been issued for the border regions, encompassing the Carpentaria, Barkly and Simpson districts to the west, as well as Queensland’s Gulf Country, North West and Channel Country.

Some areas could receive as much as 300mm of rain in 24 hours, with six-hour totals between 90mm and 150mm likely, the Bureau of Meteorology warned on Saturday.

A severe thunderstorm warning was cancelled for the North Tropical Coast after rain is not expected to exceed heavy rainfall thresholds on Saturday afternoon.

In the 24 hours to 9am on Friday, 332mm of rain was recorded at Queensland’s Westmoreland Station, near the Gulf of Carpentaria.

As of early on Saturday, ex-Kirrily was hovering south-southeast of Wollogorang over the southwestern Gulf Country in Queensland.

“At this stage, the system and associated severe weather are expected to move into the Simpson district early on Sunday morning and continue to track further southeast to clear the Territory by late Sunday,” the bureau said in a statement.

The full extent of Kirrily’s damage may not be known for some time, with already flood-hit Queensland regions bracing for another drenching.

Most major rivers across the interior and western Queensland are at some level of flooding, with the Flinders River facing major flooding, bureau meteorologist Angus Hines said.

“The places expecting more rainfall today certainly could see a continuation or even a worsening of the flood situation around the far west of the state right up to the border of Northern Territory,” he told AAP.

Authorities have received a glimpse of the devastation in the state’s northwest, prompting calls for the “neglected” region to receive more resilient infrastructure. 

“There’s going to be a big repair bill for the cattle stations,” local state MP Robbie Katter said.

“The pub in Kynuna, the Blue Heeler, was wiped out, and the vast majority of fencing and stock water in this district have been wiped out.”

Roads have been cut leaving road trains idle, rail networks are affected and properties have been inundated. 

Mount Isa has been without fresh food for a week with fresh food deliveries only resuming Friday night.

Burke Shire Mayor Ernie Camp called for federal government assistance, saying communities such as Doomadgee had already been isolated for a month.

“We need more resilient infrastructure in our region so people can get supplies and are not cut off,” he told AAP.

People near a flooded South Pine River in Strathpine.
 Ex-cyclone Kirrily is set to finally weaken next week, but another potential windstorm is brewing. Image by Jono Searle/AAP PHOTOS 

Ex-Tropical Cyclone Kirrily is set to finally weaken when it tracks into northern NSW by Tuesday.

But even when overhead conditions clear up and become a brighter day, the flooding is likely to be ongoing, Mr Hines said.

“It can take a long time, often several days if not a couple of weeks, before the flood levels will completely subside,” he said.

However, yet another potential tropical cyclone looms.

A weak low is off the Queensland coast in the Coral Sea and is a moderate chance, 25 to 35 per cent, of developing into a cyclone by Thursday.

It is expected to develop in Fijian waters but could track back towards the Queensland coast next week.