Ex-cyclone heads away from coast
EX-TROPICAL Cyclone Hadi proved a difficult weather system for forecasters to predict, with initial suggestions of a landfall near the Whitsunday coast proving false as the system headed back out to sea instead.
Bureau of Meteorology forecaster Rick Threlfall said the slow-moving low pressure system did not officially reach tropical cyclone strength until 1am on Monday, paving the way for another system in the Gulf of Carpentaria to develop first and steal its previously reserved name of Gillian.
Once Cyclone Hadi did form, Mr Threlfall said it “just sort of lingered around in the same spot for a while”, before moving east then northeast, away from the coast.
At 4.25pm on Tuesday it was downgraded from a cyclone to a tropical low.
“And it really is not going to have any further impact on the Queensland coast,” Mr Threlfall said.
What the system did bring with it was plenty of rain and strong winds, particularly in spots such as Hamilton Island where gusts of more than 50 knots were recorded.
Flights were affected and ferries and charter boats were restricted to port after the harbourmaster closed the Whitsunday marine pilotage area on Saturday at 6pm.
But despite the wet weather the Whitsundays apparently welcomed plenty of visitors over the weekend.
One person who came here specifically for the event was storm chaser Daniel Lutzke.
Mr Lutzke, who contracts to the Early Warning Network (EWN), arrived in Airlie Beach on Saturday and stayed until midday on Monday.
“The winds were pretty phenomenal at Shute Harbour – it was pretty intense – enough to shake your car,” he said.
Mr Lutzke said there were still a couple of months of the cyclone season yet to come and he hoped to return to the Whitsundays if the opportunity arose.