Residents of far north Queensland are bracing for possible power outages, internet and water supply disruptions with the arrival of Tropical Cyclone Jasper.
As of about 11am Monday, Jasper had weakened again to a category 1 system and was about 505km east of Cairns and 420km east northeast of Townsville.
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The Bureau of Meteorology issued its first cyclone warning on Monday morning for winds and heavy rainfall.
Warnings are issued when impacts are expected within 24 hours and will be updated every three hours.
“Jasper is forecast to re-intensify during Tuesday as it approaches the coast,” the bureau said.
Meanwhile, people living between Cooktown and Ingham are being warned to expect damaging 90km/h winds to develop from Tuesday.
The winds could extend as far north as Cape Melville, on the eastern coast of Cape York Peninsula, and as far south as Townsville, the Bureau of Meteorology warned.
Heavy rainfall was also expected to develop along the coast from late Tuesday ahead of Jasper likely making landfall on Wednesday between Cape Flattery and Cardwell, potentially as a category 2 system.
Flooding was possible for the north tropical coast, parts of the Cape York Peninsula and Gulf Country from Wednesday, the bureau warned.
Current image of cyclone Jasper tracking towards the Queensland coast as of Monday morning. Credit: Windy.com
Penny Priest, CEO of the Fitzroy Island Resort situated about 24km off the coast of Cairns, confirmed they had activated their “cyclone management plan” to protect guests and the island’s turtle rehabilitation centre.
“Our team at the resort have activated our cyclone management plan and are currently working through the steps involved,” Priest told 7NEWS.com.au.
“The safety of our guests and staff is our number one priority, we have developed a comprehensive management plan to assist us with these adverse weather events.
“We are working with Jeannie Gilbert, co-ordinator of the Turtle Rehabilitation Centre, to assist where possible to protect the turtles and the centre,” Priest said.
A severe weather warning for damaging winds was also in place for Monday in parts of the Herbert, lower Burdekin, central coast and Whitsundays districts, with the bureau predicting gusts of up to 90km/h in some areas.
Queensland Fire and Emergency Services on Sunday warned residents between Cape Melville and Townsville strong winds could fell trees and powerlines, blow roofs off houses as well as anything not tied down.
Jasper could also cause phone and internet outages, along with water supplies, the services warned.
Communities could also be isolated.
State Disaster co-ordinator Shane Chelepy said on Friday it was time for those in Queensland living north of Mackay to “start preparing emergency kits”.
“Keep your car topped up with petrol, have enough food in your house to last 72 hours, get some extra bottled water and a power bank for your phone and be aware of what you may need to do,” he said.
The Bureau of Meteorology confirmed with 7NEWS.com.au four of its staff had been “safely evacuated” from Willis Island on Saturday.
The forecasters, who were carrying out important front-line tropical cyclone monitoring, were evacuated after the cyclone they were tracking began heading straight for them.
The 7.7ha island is home to four bureau staff and is one of Queensland’s major frontline defences when it comes to keeping the state’s residents informed about cyclones, according to the Queensland Government.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk — before announcing her shock retirement from politics on Sunday — said she had been briefed on the cyclone.
“I can say that all preparations are well and truly in place,” she told reporters in Brisbane.
“It is expected to make land on Wednesday and can I just remind Queenslanders and especially north Queensland to take care.”