Cars washed into creek as rain tumbles across FNQ
QUEENSLAND emergency services have confirmed three cars have been washed into a creek at Lower Freshwater Road in Kamerunga.
A Queensland Fire and Emergency Service spokeswoman said multiple police and fire crews were on the scene.
The spokeswoman said two of the cars had been located, while the whereabouts of the third was currently unknown.
Fire crews are preparing to go into the water to retrieve the two cars.
The Bureau of Meteorology says a tropical low in the Gulf of Carpentaria has a "high chance" of forming into a cyclone on Saturday.
"The tropical low is starting to develop a track in the direction of the west coast of Cape York Peninsula," the Bureau advises.
"At this stage, there remains a high chance that the low will form into a tropical cyclone off the west coast of Cape York Peninsula tonight or during Saturday morning.
"The current forecast track now takes the system onto the west coast of Cape York Peninsula, between Weipa and Pormpuraaw, as a category 1 tropical cyclone on Saturday morning.
"It is possible that the system may remain over eastern Gulf of Carpentaria waters, but this scenario is becoming less likely based on its recent movement."
A cyclone warning is in place from Mapoon to Gilbert River, and gusts in excess of 90kmh may develop between Mapoon and Pormpuraaw tonight.
A severe weather warning for heavy rainfall remains in place for locations including Weipa, Port Douglas, Cooktown, Laura, Aurukun, Musgrave, Bamaga, Old Mapoon, Kowanyama, Dunbar, Palmerville, Cairns, Atherton, Mareeba, Innisfail, Ingham, Cardwell and Napranum.
Port Douglas event cancelled
The potential of a 250mm rain dump has forced the cancellation of an official Australia Day event in Port Douglas.
Douglas Shire Council said its hand was forced with predicted flooding and heavy rainfall making it difficult for people to commute to the services at the Port Douglas Community Hall tomorrow.
"Flash flooding will make it difficult for attendees from outlying areas to make it to the ceremony and poses an unnecessary risk to these people," a council spokesman said.
Australia Day nominees are being notified of the cancellation and a suitable date is being organised in the coming weeks.
Council confirmed the citizenship ceremony will be held on Thursday, February 21 at the Port Douglas Community Hall.
There are currently a number of road closures across the Douglas Shire including Shannonvale Road, Finlayvale Road, Mowbray River Road, Miallo-Bamboo Creek Road and Upper Daintree Road.
The Bureau of Meteorology is predicting intense rainfall on Saturday.
The cancellation of the Port Douglas event follows Cairns Regional Council moving its outdoor activities indoors to Parramatta State School.
Since 9am today
Peets Bridge: 162mm
Boar Pocket: 142mm
Copperlode Dam: 130mm
Flaggy Creek: 106mm
Mona Mona: 91mm
Low Isles: 67mm
Cairns Airport: 46mm
UPDATE 1PM: Cairns' Australia Day events moved indoors
The full effects of a strengthening monsoon trough is being felt across the Far North, forcing Cairns' official Australia Day celebrations indoors on Saturday.
Due to the severe weather warning, Cairns Regional Council has cancelled its Australia Day activities at Trinity Beach.
The event planned for the Cairns Esplanade has been moved to Parramatta Park State School.
Between 7am and 11am there will be a free egg and bacon breakfast, kids' activities, backyard sports and native animals. Entry is via Minnie St.
The Babinda and District Community Association's Australia Day event has been moved to Munro St. Activities will be held from 7am until 11am.
Kuranda Scenic Railway has also cancelled its Australia Day services due to the heavy rain.
A spokeswoman said customers booked to travel on Saturday's services would be offered refunds or the chance to rebook for a time of their choosing.
More than 130mm of rain has been recorded in some parts of the Far North in the past 24 hours.
In the 24 hours to 9am, 135.8mm fell at Weipa.
Following close behind was Kamerunga, which received 131mm.
A flood watch is current for catchments across Cape York Peninsula, the eastern Gulf Country and the North Tropical Coast.
Tomorrow, locally intense rainfall may develop across the coast and ranges of the North Tropical Coast district with six-hourly rainfall totals reaching up to 250mm.
The Mulligan Highway is currently closed to all traffic at Lakeland due to flash flooding.
A fallen tree on the Kuranda Range has now been cleared and the road is open to traffic in both directions.
A tropical cyclone warning zone remains in place from Mapoon to Karumba, with a cyclone watch extending to the Northern Territory border.
Douglas Shire Council has sand bags available at the Mossman SES shed behind the council on Front St, and Port Douglas Sports Oval car park off Wharf St, for residents needing to prepare for potential flooding.
Police are reminding residents to be prepared as the severe weather impacts the region.
Far North District Officer Acting Chief Superintendent Glen Pointing said the community should be aware of potential impacts of the severe weather and plan accordingly.
"This cyclone season has already seen two systems coupled with significant rain, so it is not going to take much for river and creek heights along with other water courses to rise rapidly, creating significant risks to the many motorists travelling for the long weekend," he said.
"We are also mindful that it is still school holidays, and we ask parents to be mindful of where their children are playing, particularly with the temptations that increased water flows can bring.
"We are aiming for a fatality-free long weekend, but we need motorists and the public to be of the same mindset and help us with that.
"Our message is very much: if it's flooded, forget it."
Recorded in 24 hours to 9am:
Kuranda Railway Station 115mm
Flaggy Creek 102mm
Mona Mona 100mm
Copperlode Dam 96mm
Mossman South 83mm
Cairns Racecourse 65mm
Gillies Range Lookout 55mm
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