Marcia loses cyclone moniker after frightening Friday

UPDATE 1.30PM: Across Queensland, the State Emergency Service (SES) has already received more than 5,600 requests for assistance since the beginning of this weather event. 

More than half of these requests have been completed already. 2700 of these have been received in the past 24 hours, concentrated in the Central region.

It is important the community is patient as the SES works through these requests. Please remember that the SES is made up of volunteers who will assist the most vulnerable first. If it is safe to do so, please help yourself before calling 132 500.

QFES crews have responded to around 790 incidents related to Ex-TC Marcia since yesterday, across the State.

Specialist firefighters have conducted around more than 180 Rapid Damage Assessments in Central Queensland. Of these, 25 have returned with severe damage, 27 with moderate damage and more than 60 with minor damage.

Approximately 200 homes in Yeppoon and 340 homes in Rockhampton are damaged or inundated.

A building collapse has been recorded in Rockhampton and Urban Search and Rescue teams are on scene. No people have been reported trapped.

QFES was called to four swift water rescue incidents overnight however only one of these resulted in a rescue. A man was rescued from a vehicle in Woodford. Queenslanders are urged to remember: if it's flooded, forget it.

EARLIER:

  • Marcia downgraded to Ex-Tropical Cyclone at 1am Saturday
  • Heavy falls still likely over south-east on Saturday
  • Some wind gusts still expected
  • Two water treatment plants in Rockhampton and Yeppoon have lost power
  • 3000 calls for help have been made to the SES across Queensland in the last 24 hours
  •  Powerlines are down and there are patches of localised flooding
  • Swift water rescue technicians are staged at Rockhampton, Agnes Waters, North Rockhampton, Gladstone, Bileola, Yeppoon and Mackay, ready to respond

EX-TROPICAL Cyclone MARCIA has now weakened to a low pressure system, but it is still expected to produce heavy rain across the south-east Queensland.

Hundreds of families slept in cyclone shelters on Friday night.

They will start the heart-breaking task of cleaning up and rebuilding their lives today.

In the Rockhampton region alone, there have more 350 homes and business with structural damage.

The has also been homes flooded as well as countless cars damaged by flying debris and falling trees.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has asked the Defence Force to assist in cleaning up debris, with two Air Force planes to be deployed to help assess the extent of the damage.

The AP-3C Orion and maritime patrol aircraft and a KA-350 King Air will arrive in the region today and use high resolution imagery to analyse damage to the area, the ABC reported.

Ergon Energy will have about 500 staff on the ground in the Capricornia region working to restore power to more than 57,000 customers who have been impacted.

Marcia, only the sixth recorded category five cyclone Australia has seen, made landfall in the Shoalwater Bay on Friday morning.

It moved down the Queensland coastline on Friday before being declared an ex-Tropical Cyclone about 1am on Saturday morning.

In its 2am advice on Saturday, the Bureau of Meteorology said the system should continue moving to the south-southeast, producing areas of heavy rain across the Wide Bay and Burnett district this morning, and over the Southeast Coast forecast district during the afternoon and evening.

Some six-hour rainfall totals over 200mm are possible, the bureau said.

Water levels on the high tide are likely to be near or to exceed the highest tide of the year in exposed coastal areas today between Burnett Heads and Coolangatta.

Dangerous surf and beach erosion is also expected on exposed beaches today between Burnett Heads and Coolangatta.

Although winds are generally easing around the system, and so damaging winds are becoming less likely, there is still the chance of some damaging gusts to about 90 km/hr near the coast and ranges as the system moves southwards across the Wide Bay and Burnett, and the Southeast Coast forecast districts today.

Locations which may be affected include Hervey Bay, Maryborough, Kingaroy, Gympie, the Gold Coast, the Lockyer Valley, Ipswich, Brisbane, Caboolture, and the Sunshine Coast.

RELATED: MORE THAN 700 REPORTS OF DAMAGE, FLOODING IN ROCKHAMPTON

At that time, there were winds near the centre of 55 kilometres per hour with wind gusts to 85 kilometres per hour.

AFTER rattling Rockhampton, Tropical Cyclone Marcia is continuing to weaken as she heads down the Queensland Coast, with the Bureau of Meteorology downgrading her to a category one.

Dozens of homes in Rockhampton and Yeppooon have been damaged with some completely without their roofs while trees and powerlines have fallen.

She is expected to weaken below cyclone strength tonight.

The cyclone watch area stretches from Rockhampton to Double Island Point, extending inland to Biloela, Monto, and Mundubbera.

Yeppoon is no longer part of the warning zone.

Tropical Cyclone Marcia at 8PM.

INTENSITY: At 8pm, Marcia was maintaining winds near the centre of 85 kilometres per hour with wind gusts to 120 kilometres per hour.

LOCATION: estimated to be 65 kilometres southwest of Gladstone and 40 kilometres east northeast of Biloela.

MOVEMENT: Marcia was moving south at 18 kilometres per hour.

 

Premier Annastacia Palaszuzuk addressed the media to warn residents in Rockhampton and Yeppoon of the dangers of fallen powerlines. 

"So at this stage, we are very thankful there are no reported injuries in the Yeppoon and surrounding coastal regions and also in Rockhampton," said the Premier.

"We have reports of significant structural damage in Yeppoon, we understand that the surf club may have lost its roof but we do know that homes have had structural damage and we need to assess this structural damage." 

The SES has also been inundated with calls for help.

QFES Commissioner Katarina Carroll said they had received more than 3000 calls for help and urged people to use the website or phone app to request help.

"We're literally inundated," she said.

Ms Carroll also said the 3000 calls had come from residents in the areas hit by Cyclone Marcia and also people in south east Queensland, where heavy rainfall is being recorded.


Heavy rain in the south-east

A State Disaster Committee will convene this afternoon to re-asses modelling for the cyclone and storm systems in Queensland.   

Heavy rainfall drenching the Sunshine Coast and south-eastern areas of the state is not related to Cyclone Marcia.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk confirmed a short time ago that the rainfall in south east Queensland was a different system to the cyclone.

Since 6am she said Brisbane had received about 60mm of rain while the Sunshine Coast had received a bucketing of 200mm.

Ms Palaszczuk said there were concerns over how this would impact the south east, especially when Cyclone Marcia makes her way south and is expected to turn into a tropical low in the coming days.

"What we are doing now, we need to assess over the coming days as the cyclone comes further south, the impacts that will cause on our rivers and our catchments," she said.

"That is where modelling is now being done."

She said this would continue overnight.

The advice from BOM came as authorities were pleading with flood tourists to get off the roads and stay at home.

Residents in the Rockhampton area were being particularly warned to stay inside and seek shelter.

Already there are 30,000 people without power in the Livingstone and Yeppoon regions, and a further 20,000 people already without power in Rockhampton.

BOM state regional director Rob Webb told reporters earlier today he expected the cyclone to move south, weakening as it travels over land.

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Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) Deputy Commissioner Mark Roche said residents should remain indoors until they're advised by emergency authorities that it is safe to go outside or return home.

"There is likely to be a number of hazards including fallen trees, power lines, debris and even possible structural damage to infrastructure and it is vital people do not explore collapsed buildings or go sightseeing," Mr Roche said.

"If you have evacuated and are allowed to return home, ensure you use the recommended routes only and under no circumstance should you attempt to cross flooded creeks or causeways.

"If electrical appliances in your home have been wet, do not use them until they're checked for safety and ensure you boil or purify water until supplies are declared safe."

SES take more than 2000 calls as Tropical Cyclone Marcia delivers destruction

MORE THAN 2000 Queenslanders have called the State Emergency Services for help as the north is buffeted by Cyclone Marcia and the south-east grapples with flash flooding.

In the past 24 hours, there have been 230 requests for SES help by those threatened directly by the now category three cyclone.

On Queensland's north coast, which includes the Sunshine Coast and Noosa, there have been 670 requests, 620 came from Brisbane and 430 came from the larger south-east Queensland area.

Emergency services have also warned that if using petrol generators or outdoor gas appliances, to be careful of possible gas poisoning.

As Cyclone Marcia continues to weaken over the Central Queensland coastline, there are more than 1300 SES volunteers and 11,400 volunteers with the Rural Fire Service Queensland.

Anyone needing help is asked to call SES on 132 500 or visit 132500.qld.gov.au.

 

Cyclone Marcia hits Shoalwater Bay, north of Yeppoon

CATEGORY 5 Tropical Cyclone Marcia is crossing the Capricorn coast at Shoalwater Bay, north of Yeppoon with winds so strong that even cyclone shelters may not be enough.

Police said the emergency cyclone shelter at the St Lawrence bowls club had been shut down as it was not strong enough to handle the system

There are fears winds could be as high as 300km/h.

The cyclone is expected to keep moving south, along the coastline this morning.

The Bureau of Meteorology forecast path for Tropical Cyclone Marcia as of noon on Friday February 20, 2015.
The Bureau of Meteorology forecast path for Tropical Cyclone Marcia as of noon on Friday February 20, 2015.

The bureau said in its advice that TC Marcia has winds near the centre of 205 kilometres per hour with wind gusts to 285 kilometres per hour.

Already, there are gusts of up to 285 km/h near Shoalwater Bay.

At 8am, it was within 9 kilometres of 22.4 degrees South 150.5 degrees East, estimated to be 105 kilometres east of St Lawrence and 85 kilometres north northwest of Yeppoon.

It was moving at 20 kilometres per hour.

Areas affected include from Sarina to Double Island Point, extending inland to Moura, Biloela, Monto, Taroom, Mundubbera, and Murgon

Major evacuation centres have been opened and more than 4500 volunteer firefighters are on standby.

A severe weather warning now runs south from Double Island Point and inland to the eastern parts of the Darling Downs.

Yeppoon residents are now bearing the brunt of Tropical Cyclone Marcia.

 

Prime Minister Tony Abbott thinking of Gladstone and Rockhampton.

My thoughts are with the people of Rockhampton and Gladstone particularly, because these are the aress most likely to be impacted (by the cyclone)," he said.

I've been in contact with premier. The Commonwealth stands ready to offer all possible assistance to Queensland.

We are used to dealing with the dangerous summers in this country, it's good we've been able to get through so much of this summer without any major incidents.

Let's hope we can get through it without too much damage and without any loss of life.

 

Residents being evacuated south of Yeppoon

Emergency services have issued an urgent evacuation warning for residents in Mulambin, just south of Yeppoon.

At 3.30am, residents of Percy Ford and Swordfish Avenue were being told they are at risk of being inundated by the high storm tide across Mulambin Beach and Causeway Lake.

They've been told to leave by 5am.

Across Queensland, more than 60 schools have announced they will be closed, but many more are expected to follow as the extent of the deluge is revealed at daylight.

Latest list of Queensland school closures

Hospitals have cancelled scheduled surgeries, while airports and beaches pounded by rain and wind will be closed.

Premier urges Queenslanders not to panic

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said Queenslanders close to the cyclone should not panic but be prepared to evacuate quickly.

She said it was a 'serious event' which had 'changed drastically' since earlier forecasts.

It intensified into a Category 4 system just before 6pm on Thursday, about seven hours earlier than first predicted.

The bureau expects the storm's most destructive core to be about 100 kilometres wide.

Ccmmunities from Bowen south to Double Island Point have been warned to expect gale-force winds.

 

Warning zone for Tropical Cyclone Marica

In its 2am advice on Friday, the bureau said the warning zone extended from Mackay to Double Island Point, extending inland to Blackwater, Moura, Biloela, Monto, Taroom, Mundubbera, and Murgon

The destructive core of severe tropical cyclone Marcia, with gusts to 295 km/h, is expected to cross the coast between St. Lawrence and Gladstone this morning.

Destructive winds are expected to extend further across coastal and island communities between Mackay and Burnett Heads early this morning, and inland across the Capricornia and Burnett districts during today.

Gales are now occurring about some coastal and island communities between Mackay and Double Island Point, and are expected to extend inland to areas including Blackwater, Moura, Biloela, Monto and Mundubbera during today.

Coastal residents between Sarina and Double Island Point are specifically warned of the dangerous storm tide as the cyclone crosses the coast, and in the following high tide well after landfall during this evening.

The sea is likely to rise steadily up to a level well above the normal tide, with damaging waves and flooding of some low-lying areas close to the shoreline.

People living in areas likely to be affected by this flooding should take measures to protect their property as much as possible and be prepared to follow instructions regarding evacuation of the area if advised to do so by the authorities.

Dangerous surf is expected about exposed beaches south of Sandy Cape.

Earlier, Queensland Fire and Emergency Services said swift water rescue technicians were stationed across Queensland areas that are likely to be impacted by storm surge, inundation or flash flooding.

• More than 150 additional QFES staff and around 4,500 Rural Fire Service Queensland (RFSQ) volunteers on standby, ready to be deployed;
• Regional Operation Centres across the central and ‪#‎SEQ‬ have been activated, with staff working tirelessly to coordinate logistics and preparations for TC Marcia;
• Rapid Damage Assessment Teams are ready to respond;
• Queenslanders are reminded: ‪#‎ifitsfloodedforgetit‬; and
• In a life threatening emergency, always call Triple Zero (000).


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