Townsville residents warned to prepare for destructive winds from 8pm

Date published: 27 March 2017

The Townsville Disaster Management Group met this morning at 4.30am to assess the current cyclone situation.

Townsville residents should make final preparations for destructive winds from Tropical Cyclone Debbie which is now expected to arrive from 8pm tonight.

The Public Cyclone Shelter at Heatley and Places of Refuge will be open from today for those residents who have been evacuated, feel vulnerable, or have no other alternatives for accommodation.

TLDMG chair and Townsville Mayor Cr Jenny Hill warned residents that the city was still in the path of Cyclone Debbie’s destructive zone despite the system still taking a slightly southerly track.

The TLDMG briefing this morning from the Bureau of Meteorology has Cyclone Debbie crossing the coast between Townsville and Bowen on Tuesday morning at around 8am.

“The Bureau’s latest advice is predicting minimal impact from storm surge, but very destructive winds and significant rainfall.

“Townsville residents in the red zone are encouraged to consider their evacuation options. At this stage it is voluntary. Residents need to be using the available time to complete preparations and have their cyclone plans in place.

“If you feel unsafe, you should make plans to go to friends or family in the first instance.

“Places of Refuge and the Cyclone Shelter at Heatley are available for people who have no other alternatives for accommodation including with friends and family, have been evacuated or feel vulnerable.”

Facilities have limited space and people are advised of the following:

  • You will need to be self-sufficient for you and your family

Public Cyclone Shelters Only

  • You will be seated in a chair, no mattresses or stretcher
  • Personal belongings need to be small enough to fit under a chair
  • The building will be locked down when the cyclone is passing (up to 18hrs)

The Cyclone Shelter at Heatley is now open. Places of Refuge will be open at 2pm today. These include:

  • Townsville City Council, 143 Walker Street (basement car park)
  • Suncorp Building, 61-73 Sturt Street, Townsville City and
  • North Shore, Iris Lane, Burdell

“The only areas where we are directing people to evacuate at this stage are around Cape Cleveland, Cungulla and Cleveland Palms.

“Police will doorknock beachfront properties in Cungulla this morning directing residents to relocate. Additional police presence will operate in areas of directed evacuation.

“All emergency services and other core groups of the TLDMG including the council are fully resourced and ready to respond. The Army is also fully geared up to mobilise at short notice.

“The Townsville Disaster Coordination Centre is fully staffed and taking calls from the public.”