Newspaper article The Daily Mercury (Mackay, Australia)

Horror Hamish Saves Cyclonic Savagery for Another Time, Another Victim

Newspaper article The Daily Mercury (Mackay, Australia)

Horror Hamish Saves Cyclonic Savagery for Another Time, Another Victim

Article excerpt

Byline: Sarah Crawford sarah.crawford@dailymercury.com.au

MACKAY breathed a collective sigh of relief as the ferocious cyclone Hamish passed by yesterday afternoon without causing significant damage to the region.

But authorities had been prepared for the worst at the weekend with all harbours and coal terminals in the region closed and flights cancelled in and out of Mackay Airport.

Bulk carriers waiting to be loaded at Hay Point and Dalrymple Bay coal terminals were sent out to sea on Saturday as Cyclone Hamish bore down on Mackay.

Yesterday around 3pm the Bureau of Meteorology cancelled the cyclone warning for the Mackay region as Hamish had moved southeast of Mackay off the coast.

Mackay Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) technical officer Craig Hall said the threat passed Mackay and skipped Sarina also.

"It's well off the coast and not really going to affect the area between Mackay and Carmila," Mr Hall said yesterday afternoon.

However the BOM forecasted that heavy rain associated with Hamish was likely to cause some flooding in smaller coastal rivers and streams between Mackay and Yeppoon today.

Yesterday at 5pm Hamish was continuing to track south south-east and was threatening coastal and island communities between St Lawrence and Bundaberg (including the Percy Islands). It was expected to maintain a south-east track parallel to the coast during the next 24 to 48 hours. Mr Hall said it was extremely unlikely that Hamish would turn around and threaten Mackay again.

"There is always the chance but it is rare, the upper winds are setting it to the south south-east," Mr Hall said.

Rainbands associated with the cyclone dumped more than 200mm of rain at the BOM Mt Bassett site between Saturday 9am and yesterday at 4pm.

At 9am yesterday wind gusts reached 70km/h at Mt Bassett while at the same time Mackay beaches experienced a 6.1 metre high-tide.

Mackay region harbour master Captain John Ellyett said that on Saturday morning as the severe tropical cyclone approached Mackay from the north-west he decided to close all ports.

"We didn't want a scenario like the Pasha Bulker (a bulk carrier which ran ashore off Newcastle during severe storms in 2007). …

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