Owen makes 2nd, more severe strike on Queensland, Australia

By Eric Leister, AccuWeather senior meteorologist
By Adam Douty, AccuWeather senior meteorologist
December 17, 2018, 9:48:46 AM EST


Residents of northern Queensland endured a second and more severe strike by former Tropical Cyclone Owen this weekend.

After first moving into the peninsula as a tropical rainstorm last week, Owen tracked over the Gulf of Carpentaria and intensified into a severe tropical cyclone last week.

The storm reversed course and made its second landfall in Cape York Peninsula during the predawn hours of Saturday, local time.

Owen was a Category 3 severe tropical cyclone when it moved onshore in between Kowanyama and the mouth of the Gilbert River. Its strength at that time was equivalent to a Category 1 hurricane in the Atlantic or eastern Pacific oceans.

"Owen was a very compact storm as landfall, so the severe impacts of destructive winds and flooding rain have been confined to a narrow zone across Cape York Peninsula," said AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Kristina Pydynowski.

Au 12/16


While Owen has lost wind intensity and has become a tropical rainstorm, it will track southeastward through Monday, causing downpours and gusty winds to spread along the central and southern Queensland coast. The coast of northern Queensland will see much-needed dry weather.

The heavy rain can trigger flash flooding and travel disruptions with the risks highest across east-central Queensland, where rainfall of 200-300 mm (8-12 inches) can be expected. In some of the more rugged terrain along the coast between Townsville and Cairns, over 500 mm (20 inches) of rain has been reported on Sunday.

"Even if flooding does not ensue, downpours can create hazards for motorists by reducing visibility and heightening the risk of vehicles hydroplaning when traveling at highway speeds," Pydynowski said.

This includes Mackay and Rockhampton.

"In the higher terrain where bushfires left the ground scarred, mudslides or debris flows can be triggered," said Pydynowski.

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Boaters and swimmers should be advised of dangerous surf along the coast of Queensland, despite Owen weakening.

Beyond Monday, Owen may make a turn back to the north, continuing to parallel the coast of Queensland through much of the week. While the heaviest of has fallen, additional showers and thunderstorms will continue to dampen outdoor plans and slow travel.

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