Australia’s north has begun its largest mass evacuation since 1974, as more than 2,000 residents have been evacuated from Northern Territory communities overnight.
The Bureau of Meteorology has issued a severe weather warning for the region as Cyclone Trevor moves across the top of the country with gale force winds and dangerous surf conditions predicted over coming days.
The cyclone, which is expected to develop into a Category 4 system, is expected to make landfall tomorrow with effects of the weather event already being felt across some parts of the state.
The storm has reportedly forced the largest ever evacuation for communities in the Northern Territory. Thousands have been given emergency accommodation after being flown in from Groote Eylandt and the Borroloola areas on Thursday.
Speaking at a press conference yesterday Northern Territory Chief Minister Michael Gunner warned conditions are expected to worsen.
“As Cyclone Trevor tracks across the Gulf of Carpentaria, the Bureau of Meteorology is forecasting that the cyclone will make landfall between Borroloola and Groote Eylandt during Saturday as a category four severe tropical cyclone,” he told reporters.
BOM’s latest advice is that the system will continue to intensify in the Gulf of Carpentaria. “A severe impact on the southwestern Gulf of Carpentaria coast is likely over the weekend,” the bureau said.
Tropical Cyclone Trevor will continue to intensify in the Gulf of Carpentaria. A severe impact on the southwestern Gulf of Carpentaria coast is likely over the weekend. #CycloneTrevor https://t.co/AWJKLhynnl pic.twitter.com/lmaRTZDfo1
— Bureau of Meteorology, Northern Territory (@BOM_NT) March 21, 2019
Meanwhile, senior meteorologist Andrea Peace said: “As the cyclone approaches the Pilbara coast over the weekend, communities are likely to experience very destructive winds, very dangerous storm surge and heavy rain that’s conducive to major flooding – so now is the time to prepare.
“Given how large and slow moving this system is, there is likely to be a period of very destructive winds with gusts in excess of 165 km/h possible as the cyclone approaches the coast.”
The cyclone left behind trail of destruction in Queensland’s Cape York peninsula earlier this week, uprooting trees, causing flooding and roof damage, closing schools and roads, and downing power lines.
Trevor is one of two cyclones threatening Australia’s coast lines. Cyclone Veronica, which is set to approach Western Australia’s Pilbara coast this weekend, intensified from a Category 1 to 4 overnight.
“Severe tropical Cyclone Veronica continues to intensify! This loop shows it develop from a Category 1 to Category 4 over the last 24hrs! It will approach the Pilbara coast during the weekend,” the bureau said.