Tropical cyclone Kimi to hit Cairns, WA bushfire warning

A major Cairns shopping centre has closed its doors as the north Queensland coast braces for tropical cyclone Kimi, which could make landfall on Monday night.

The category 1 system may cross the coast late Monday or early Tuesday between Innisfail and Lucinda; however, the Bureau of Meteorology warns there remains “considerable uncertainty” surrounding the crossing time and location.

Forecaster Alex Majchrowski said the system was expected to further intensify to a category 2 as it approached the coast on Monday afternoon.

“There is a chance that the system could stay offshore for longer and cross the coast further south,” he said.

“It’s a compact system and it can be difficult to forecast, that’s why we have people watching it closely.”

Destructive winds with gusts up to 150 km/h could develop on Monday evening or early Tuesday, and heavy rainfall with the potential to cause flash flooding and major river flooding is expected to affect the coast.

Mr Majchrowski said there were falls of 100-300mm likely in the cyclone watch area.

“We could even see falls heavier than that, especially if thunderstorms develop as they wrap around the system,” he said.

As at 4am on Monday, the bureau said the cyclone was moving south at 7km/h and was 110 kilometres northeast of Cairns and 330 kilometres north of Townsville.

A cyclone warning is active for Port Douglas to Lucinda, extending inland to Mareeba and including Cairns, Cardwell and Atherton, with a watch zone extending further south to Ayr.

As a result, Cairns Central shopping centre will close on Monday.

“Cairns Central centre management will continue to monitor the situation closely and will act according to the advice of emergency services,” the centre said in a Facebook statement.

“Our focus continues to be the safety of all retailers, staff, customers and the Cairns community.”

Southern Queensland is in for a damp Monday as well, with severe thunderstorm activity extending from Charleville to the southeast coast.

“Heavy rains and damaging winds are likely,” Mr Majchrowski said.

Meanwhile, Western Australia remains on high alert with a severe fire danger still current for the Coastal Central West – South district.

The bureau said hot temperatures and moderate to fresh and gusty north-easterly winds across the Central West were of concern.

The Department of Fire and Emergency Services said residents in the area should action their bushfire survival plan.

As at 2.19am on Monday, local time, a bushfire watch and act is in place south of Perth for parts of Anketell, Oakford, Oldbury and Casuarina in the Serpentine-Jarrahdale shire and Kwinana.

Emergency WA said the fire alert level had been downgraded as the fire had been contained, but it still posed a risk.

“People need to remain alert as conditions could change,” a statement said.

“There is a possible threat to lives and homes as a fire is burning in the area and weather conditions are likely to change throughout the day.”

In Tasmania, a severe weather warning has been activated for damaging winds for most of the state.

The bureau issued the warning at 5.47am on Monday for people in Upper Derwent Valley, South East, East Coast, North West Coast, Central Plateau, Midlands and parts of Western and Central North forecast districts.

Residents have been warned damaging west to south-westerly winds, averaging 50 to 60km/h, with peak gusts of up to 100 km/h are possible over the southeast and central parts of the island on Monday afternoon, extending along the east coast and northwest later in the evening.

A deep low pressure system is passing south of the state, and a cold front is expected to cross on Monday afternoon.

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