Tropical Cyclone Oma is currently travelling about 10km per hour and is about 950km north-east of Brisbane.
Tropical Cyclone Oma is currently travelling about 10km per hour and is about 950km north-east of Brisbane. Windy.com

BoM explains how every Cyclone Oma scenario impacts Bundy

GALE-force winds and heavy rainfall could be on the cards for Bundaberg as the possibility arises that Tropical Cyclone Oma may linger off the Fraser coastline rather than tracking further south.

The Bureau of Meteorology has multiple scenarios curated as they continue to track the category-2 cyclone's movements, which is currently sitting in the Coral Sea about 950km north-east of Brisbane and moving at 10km per hour.

Meteorologist Kimba Wong said Bundaberg was likely to see the impacts of the cyclone regardless of it's movements, but confirmed that lingering on the Fraser Coastline was a potential outcome.

She said the likelihood of a coastal crossing has decreased, but it's not completely ruled out yet.

A supplied satellite view taken on Monday, February 18, 2019, of Cyclone Oma seen off the coast of Queensland.
A supplied satellite view taken on Monday, February 18, 2019, of Cyclone Oma seen off the coast of Queensland. BUREAU OF METEOROLOGY

"With the possibility of it lingering around the southern coast or if it does make a coastal crossing, which is looking less likely at the moment but still possible, it could be around the sort of Fraser coastline area so Bundaberg could be affected," she said.

"Regardless of what it does and where exactly it goes, we are expecting coastal impacts to be pretty significant and continuing through the weekend at least, into early next week as well."

She said the impacts of a coastal crossing or even sitting off the coastline, Bundaberg could expect to see some heavier rainfall, significant coastal erosion and very strong, potentially damaging, winds.

BoM uses a probabilistic forecast to look at a variety of different models and their ensemble members, and uses these models as they follow the cyclones movements to narrow down likely outcomes ahead of time.

 

The highest tides of the year are currently expected over the coming days, with high swells from Tropical Cyclone Oma impacting the predicted amount.
The highest tides of the year are currently expected over the coming days, with high swells from Tropical Cyclone Oma impacting the predicted amount. Mike Knott

"Hopefully throughout the day today we'll be able to narrow the forecast down a little bit," Ms Wong said.

"At the moment there's still a fair spread of possibilities for what's going to happen with this system but hopefully throughout the day today and into tomorrow we can really narrow that down.

"Bundaberg is probably going to be impacted by those stronger winds and increasing swell and wave action, regardless of what they system does but if it does linger off the coast there, particularly just the length of time that it spends there, it is what would concern people.

"If it sits there for a couple of days, you could see quite a few days in a row with heavy rainfall and strong winds, which leads more to the chance of flash flooding and affects like that.

"You don't really want a cyclone sitting off your coastline for a few days in a row, it's not ideal, so hopefully it moves off to the south-east but at this point it's a little difficult to say."

 

The latest track map for Tropical Cyclone Oma issued by the Bureau of Meteorology at 5am shows the tropical storm bearing down on the Sunshine Coast before hooking in and back north. However considerable uncertainty remained with the vast grey area showing Oma could make landfall here.
The latest track map for Tropical Cyclone Oma issued by the Bureau of Meteorology at 5am shows the tropical storm bearing down on the Sunshine Coast before hooking in and back north. However considerable uncertainty remained with the vast grey area showing Oma could make landfall here.

Areas are looking at getting up to 100mm of rainfall per day, a downgrade from the initial 300mm.

Ms Wong said as they narrow down the cyclones movements they can get a clearer idea on how much rainfall could be involved, which is why the amount has been decreased.

Concerns have been raised that older buildings in areas expected to be hit by the cyclone are not constructed to cyclone standards, with CQUniversity head of built environment Doctor Darryl O'Brien saying Tropical Cyclone Marcia provided some lived experiences and examples of risk areas.

He said coastal areas south of Bundaberg, areas in the potential path of Oma, are not constructed to withstand these conditions.

"The good news is that the inherent factor of safety in the new (post-1996) engineering designs should minimise the risk ... but it's not guaranteed," Dr O'Brien said.

Facebook post on TC Oma

He warned that buildings constructed prior to about 1980 would be at a higher risk from structural damage such as losing roofs, whereas newer buildings generally perform well.

"High-rise buildings are generally ok but, in older types, glazing may be an issue," he said.

"During Tropical Cyclone Marcia, there were some examples of non-structural failures such as damaged ceiling linings and external building facades in fairly new multi-storey buildings.

"Unfortunately, the better the view (upper floors of high rises, or buildings on hills) the higher the wind speed, so be aware."

Facebook post on TC Oma

Current warnings for the Wide Bay area:

Flood watch

Issued at 2.55pm yesterday.

Initial flood watch for coastal catchments between Gladstone and the NSW border, and adjacent inland areas.

Flood Watch Number: 1

River level rises above the minor flood level are possible across the Flood Watch area during the weekend and early next week. There is a risk of moderate to major flooding, dependent on the movement of TC Oma.

Tropical Cyclone Oma is expected to continue its track towards the southern Queensland coast in the coming days, which may produce heavy rainfall over the weekend and early next week. The specific area and duration of this heavy rainfall is dependent on the track of Tropical Cyclone Oma.

Catchments across southern Queensland remain quite dry after a delayed start to the wet season. However areas where intense rainfall is recorded will likely respond quickly.

Based on the current forecast track, minor flooding is possible in coastal catchments south of Bundaberg from early in the weekend.

Heavy rainfall may also lead to localised flooding.

Catchments likely to be affected include:

Calliope River

Boyne River

Baffle Creek

Kolan River

Burnett River

Burrum and Cherwell Rivers

Mary River

Noosa River

Sunshine Coast Rivers and Creeks

Pine and Caboolture Rivers

Upper Brisbane River

Lower Brisbane River

Logan and Albert Rivers

Gold Coast Rivers and Creeks

Condamine Rivers

Macintyre River

Weir River

Moonie River

More information on the Flood Watch Service.

Strong wind warning

Issued at 4.45am today.

Strong wind warning for Thursday for the following areas:

Capricornia Coast, Hervey Bay, Fraser Island Coast, Sunshine Coast Waters, Moreton Bay and Gold Coast Waters.

Gale warning for Friday for the following areas:

Capricornia Coast, Fraser Island Coast, Sunshine Coast Waters, Moreton Bay and Gold Coast Waters.

Strong wind warning for Friday for the following areas:

Hervey Bay.

Severe weather warning for abnormally high tides and dangerous surf

Issued at 4.58am today.

Abnormally high tides and dangerous surf for areas south of Seventeen Seventy.

Weather Situation: At 5am AEST, tropical cyclone Oma lies over the eastern Coral Sea, approximately 900 kilometres northeast of Brisbane. Tropical cyclone Oma is forecast to move to the southwest over the next few days, and will generate a significant east to northeasterly swell over southern Queensland beaches. The increasing swell is also expected to combine with king tides.

Dangerous surf conditions are forecast to develop about the east coast of Fraser Island and Wide Bay coast north of Bargara later this afternoon and evening. These conditions are then expected to extend south over the remaining southeastern Queensland coast during this evening and Friday. Beach erosion is likely to continue with the hazardous marine conditions.

Water levels on the high tide may exceed the highest tide of the year by around one metre on the morning high tides on Thursday and Friday.

Locations which may be affected include Gold Coast, Maroochydore, Moreton Island, Noosa Heads, Caloundra and Rainbow Beach.

  • Queensland Fire and Emergency Services advises that people should:
  • Surf Life Saving Australia recommends that you stay out of the water and stay well away from surf-exposed areas.
  • Check your property regularly for erosion or inundation by sea water, and if necessary raise goods and electrical items.
  • If near the coastline, stay well away from the water's edge.
  • Never drive, walk or ride through flood waters. If it's flooded, forget it.
  • Keep clear of creeks and storm drains.
  • For emergency assistance contact the SES on 132 500.

The next Severe Weather Warning will be issued by 11:00 am AEST Thursday.

Warnings are also available through TV and Radio broadcasts, the Bureau's website at www.bom.gov.au or call 1300 659 219. The Bureau and Queensland Fire and Emergency Services would appreciate warnings being broadcast regularly.

Hazardous surf warning

Hazardous surf warning for Thursday and Friday for these areas:

Capricornia Coast, Hervey Bay, Fraser Island Coast, Sunshine Coast Waters, Moreton Bay and Gold Coast Waters.

Surf Life Saving Queensland advise that:

  • People should consider staying out of the water and avoid walking near surf-exposed areas.
  • Rock fishers should avoid coastal rock platforms exposed to the ocean and seek a safe location that is sheltered from the surf.
  • Boaters planning to cross shallow water and ocean bars should consider changing or delaying their voyage.
  • Boaters already on the water should carry the appropriate safety equipment and wear a lifejacket.
  • Boaters should remember to log on with their local radio base and consider their safety management plan.

The next warning will be issued by 5:00 pm EST Thursday

For all cyclone and warnings and information visit the Bureau of Meteorology website.



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