ALL THE NEWS AND PHOTOS IN THE WAKE OF CYCLONE DYLAN
DESPITE warnings from Council and the local police, Whitsunday residents flocked to the foreshore at high tide on Friday to assess the impacts of Tropical Cyclone Dylan. The cyclone crossed the coast at Hydeaway Bay at 3.30am, about seven hours before the year’s king tide.
While the region experienced minimal damage, the combination of a cyclone storm surge and king tide was cause for concern, with Council receiving both praised and criticism for its emergency warning systems and storm surge maps.
Whitsunday mayor Jennifer Whitney said as a result of last week’s events, Council was now working with Geographical Information System (GIS) specialists and the Queensland Government to improve the mapping which drove the region’s emergency alert system.
The emergency alert system is a free service provided by State Government to warn people via SMS and home phone of impending threats to the community. Two emergency alerts were issued on Thursday night during Cyclone Dylan’s approach, to warn residents in low-lying coastal areas of potential storm surge tide inundation.
Cr Whitney apologised to those who were inconvenienced by alerts despite being “high and dry”, however, she said it was better to be prepared than be in the dark about an impending emergency.
“After 10pm the Whitsunday Disaster Co-ordination Centre received new advice that the storm surge risk to our region had significantly increased due to updated forecast track maps, cyclone intensification, as well as the forecast cyclone crossing the coast closer to the highest tide of the year,” she said.
“We were preparing for the worst, but hoping for the best.”
Cr Whitney said the emergency alert system was never going to be faultless.
“But we are working to create a more detailed mapping system to only alert people who are in or close to low-lying areas,” she said.
“Hopefully this will reduce the nuisance calls and text messages people will receive during a disaster event, which can potentially alarm people who are not in harm’s way.”
Storm surge maps can be found at www.whitsunday.qld.gov.au/storm-surgemaps.
ON FOOT: Residents flocked to Cannonvale foreshore on foot after police closed the road on Friday morning.
ON THE WATER: Kite boarder Bill Kemp hit the waves off Boathaven Beach on Friday morning.
STORM SURGE: Waves came crashing over the fence at Cannonvale Beach as a result of the storm surge generated by Tropical Cyclone Dylan, combined with a king tide.
HIGH WATER: Water levels at Port of Airlie were well up over the pavement and grass embankment at the high tide on Thursday before Tropical Cyclone Dylan crossed.