Tropical Cyclone Jasper expected to cross Queensland coast as category two late on Wednesday | Australia weather #Tropical #Cyclone #Jasper #expected #cross #Queensland #coast #category #late #Wednesday #Australia #weather

Strong winds driven by Tropical Cyclone Jasper are expected to hit the far north Queensland coast by Wednesday lunch time, bringing intense rain and the potential for major damage.

The full force of wind gusts up to 140km/h are due late on Wednesday morning ahead of Jasper crossing the coast between Cooktown and Port Douglas, north of Cairns, on Wednesday afternoon or early evening.

Residents have spent the past few days preparing for the slow-moving system to arrive.

At 7am Wednesday it remained classified as a category one cyclone as it nears the coast but is still forecast to cross as a category two storm.

At that time, Jasper was about 180km northeast of Cairns and 180km east of Cooktown.

While Jasper is expected to intensify to category two before making landfall, it should weaken quickly as it moves inland and over Cape York Peninsula, the Bureau of Meteorology said on Wednesday.

Locals have been told to prepare for flash flooding and potentially days without power, with evacuation centres established in Cairns, Port Douglas and Cooktown.

They have also been warned of the potential for riverine flooding, with up to 500mm of rain predicted in 24 hours.

A tropical cyclone warning is in place for Cape Melville to Cardwell, including Cairns and Innisfail and extending inland to include the Atherton Tablelands, Chillagoe and Palmerville.

While category one, the cyclone was packing gusts of up to 120km/h and moving west at 7km/h.

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“Winds of this strength can easily bring down tree limbs, whole trees or power lines, damaging fences, roofs and other properties,” the bureau’s Miriam Bradbury said.

Cairns mayor Terry James has urged locals to stock up and be prepared for up to five days without power.

“The roads will be cut off – potentially the power will be cut off,” he said.

“It’s been over 60 years since we’ve had a direct hit.

“There’s a lot of stories out there that say we’re protected. Well, we’re not protected.”

More than 100 emergency personnel have been deployed out of Brisbane to boost local crews on the ground.

The system is expected to re-intensify as it moves into the Gulf at the weekend.

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