CYCLONE WATCH: Beaches closed as Cyclone Oma inches closer
UPDATE 2.35pm: HAZARDOUS surf conditions on the Far North Coast have forced the closure of all beaches in the region.
Conditions have deteriorated quickly, with wave heights from 7-foot plus impacting the coast.
High tides are also contributing to the hazardous conditions and lifeguards are urging people to exercise caution near the water. Crossing river bars and rock fishing are not recommended.
Scott McCartney from the Australian Lifeguard Service says beaches will be closed until conditions improve.
"Please observe warning signs and listen to the lifeguards. We'll be monitoring the conditions and will look to re-open beaches when it's safe to do so," he said.
To find the location of your nearest patrolled beach, go to beachsafe.org.au or download the app.
General Safety Tips During Hazardous Surf Conditions
• Avoid rock fishing and water activities on exposed beaches/rock-shelves
• Only swim at patrolled beaches, between the red & yellow flags. See the Beachsafe Website for patrolled locations/times
• Check the official Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) forecast before undertaking rock fishing and water activities
• Boaties should seek advice from Marine Rescue NSW and always wear a lifejacket
• If witnessing an in-water emergency dial Triple Zero - Police
Original story: THE Bureau of Meteorology has issued a Cyclone Watch for coastal parts of southeast Queensland and northern New South Wales with Gales developing as Tropical Cyclone Oma approaches.
The Watch Zone is from Bundaberg to Ballina, including Brisbane, Sunshine Coast and Gold Coast.
Details of Tropical Cyclone Oma have recorded it as Category 2, with sustained winds near the centre of 95 kilometres per hour with wind gusts to 130 kilometres per hour.
"Tropical Cyclone Oma is expected to continue moving in a general southwesterly direction towards the southeast Queensland coast during today and Friday, whilst maintaining category 2 intensity," BoM said.
"Oma's motion becomes slow moving during Saturday but is then expected to track in a more north or northwest direction, remaining offshore through the weekend.
"Although Oma is not expected to make landfall in the coming days it will be close enough to produce direct impacts along the Queensland and New South Wales coast."
Abnormally high tides and dangerous surf conditions are expected along the southern Queensland coast over the next few days and into early next week.
Seas and swell are expected to increase well ahead of the approach of Oma with dangerous surf developing about the east coast of Fraser Island and Wide Bay coast north or Bargara later this afternoon and evening.
These conditions are then expected to extend south over the remaining southeastern Queensland coast and northern New South Wales coast during this evening and Friday. Beach erosion is likely to continue with the hazardous marine conditions.
Severe Weather Warnings for Abnormally High Tides and Dangerous Surf are current. A Hazardous Surf Warning is also current.
Gale force winds are expected to develop along exposed coastal areas of southern Queensland during Friday well ahead of Oma, and may extend into coastal parts of Northern New South Wales on Saturday.
Water levels on the high tide may exceed the highest tide of the year by around one metre on the morning high tides over the next few days.
People between Bundaberg and the NSW/Qld border should consider what action they will need to take if the cyclone threat increases.
- Information is available from your local government
The NSW State Emergency Service advise people between the NSW/Qld border to Ballina:
- Stay indoors away from windows and keep children indoors.
- Don't walk, ride your bicycle or drive through flood water, and keep clear of creeks and storm drains.
- Check your property regularly for erosion or inundation by sea water, and if necessary raise goods and electrical items.
- Stay out of the water and stay well away from surf-exposed areas.
For emergency help in floods and storms, ring the NSW State Emergency Service (SES) on 132 500.