Tropical Cyclone Tiffany was downgraded to a Category 1 system after passing through the far north of the Queensland coast.
Tiffany made landfall southwest of Coen just before noon today as a category two cyclone.
The Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) expects Tiffany to weaken further as it moves west across the Cape York Peninsula, before relocating to the Gulf of Carpentaria and heading towards the east coast of the Northern Territory.
The BOM said the system sustained winds near the center of 85 kilometers per hour, with wind gusts to 120 kilometers per hour.
It was moving from west to southwest at eight miles an hour.
The office’s latest advisory said the system could hit the Northern Territory on Wednesday, “where severe tropical cyclone impact is possible.”
BOM forecaster Shane Kennedy said earlier: “This has the potential to bring destructive, destructive winds to the far north region.”
The BOM recommends that those between Cape Tribulation and Coen, including in Cooktown, complete preparations quickly and be prepared to seek shelter in a safe place.
People between Cape Grenville and Coen, including Lockhart River, and Mapoon in Gilbert River Mouth should take precautions and listen to the next advice.
Heavy rainfall is already occurring in the region and is expected to continue until Tuesday.
Abnormally high tides are forecast from Cape Tribulation to Lockhart River, with large waves likely along the waterfront.
Cyclone and COVID “double whammy”
Deputy Police Commissioner Steve Gollschewski said communities were well prepared for the cyclone.
“We have great confidence in the shelters and structures in the areas that have been affected,” he said.
The Cook Shire’s second largest city, Coen, is expected to feel Tiffany’s full impact.
Mr Scott said the town of about 300 residents is well prepared.
However, the combined effects of severe weather and COVID cases spreading in the region are of concern across Cape York.
“Fortunately, in Coen we only have one confirmed case and they are in isolation at home,” Mr Scott said.
“It’s a double whammy this time, we have to be careful with the weather but also with COVID.
“The top three things people need to remember are cooperation, care and common sense.”
Deputy Commissioner Gollschewski said the pandemic had been taken into consideration.
“We have factored into our planning those COVID cases that are currently on course and are well covered in our operational planning,” he said.
Flood Watch Issued for Cape York Peninsula Rivers
Coen’s tax collector Che Mulley said more than 100 millimeters of rain fell overnight and the rain continued this morning.
“It rained consistently all morning and night,” Ms. Mulley said.
“It’s very quiet in town.”
The BOM has issued an initial flood watch for rivers on the Cape York Peninsula, with rivers surrounding Coen listed as likely to be affected.
Ms Mulley said the prospect of flooding rivers would not phase the townspeople.
“We’re used to being cut, so it’s no different – we’re in our rainy season, that’s what we’re used to,” she said.
“We have a lot of food here and I think the store is pretty well stocked so everything will be fine I think. “
The owner of the station “courage” in anticipation of the cyclone
Sharon Willmann’s Yarraden Station property, about 40 kilometers south of Coen, was directly below the path planned by Tiffany.
“We have nine puppies here right now – their mother died of cancer at three weeks old, they’re 13 weeks old now, so I’ve been hand-raising them ever since.”
Ms Willmann said low-intensity cyclones like Tiffany hadn’t caused too many problems at the station, but there would be a lot of work to be done once past.
“When they’re only grade one or two it usually only rains a little and the kids are happy because the cove in front of our house is flushed out well and they can swim in it,” she said.
“We’re lucky because we’re at the top of the line so we don’t lock ourselves in or anything.
“It’s mainly about checking the fences afterwards to see what the damage is and to see how bad the wind is, if it gets strong it could cause a little damage to the buildings, but hopefully that no.”