Whitsunday Times - - FRONT PAGE -

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.whit­sun­

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.

Photo by Toby Kro­ner Pho­tog­ra­phy.

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.

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