Cyclone Nathan down to cat one, expected to reintensify


  • Cyclone Nathan hit Queensland coastline between Cape Flattery and Cape Melville
  • Nathan made landfall as a Category Four system, but has now weakened into a Category one.
  • It made landfall at 4am, delivering wind gusts of up to 230kmh.
  • Cyclone Warning in place from Cape Sidmouth to Cape Flattery and inland areas
  • Your council is the best source of information on local preparations
  • If you need help, contact the SES on 132 500 or 000 in an emergency
  • Friday will make one month since Cyclone Marcia struck Central Queensland

[4 PM]

TROPICAL Cyclone Nathan has now been downgraded to a category one system.

Despite weakening, the weather bureau still warn the system could bring near destructive wind gusts and heavy rain across the Peninsula.

Current predictions forecast Nathan will continue to lose steam as he moves inland over Cape York Peninsula during today, but the system is expected to reintensify once it moves over the Gulf of Carpentaria during Saturday.

Meanwhile, forecasters say Cyclone Nathan will not bring the same rainfall Marcia did.

Due to it travelling west, BOM forecaster Sean Fitzgerald said the system would not bring rainfall to areas south of the cape.

"Any rains south of Cape York won't likely be directly related to Nathan," he said.

"I don't think we're going to see the type of thing we saw with Marcia... as Nathan is tracking west."

Mr Fitzgerald said any rain over the weekend would be due to an inland low rather than due to the cyclone.

A banana plantation suffered the worst of Cyclone Nathan on Friday after Cooktown avoided major damage.

The system weakened as it moved across Cape York, but areas from Cape Sidmouth to Cape Flattery were still on alert on Friday afternoon.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the government would monitor the cyclone.

She also said a banana plantation had suffered major damage.

"We do have some reports in that the banana plantation has suffered some damage, about 60% to that plantation, but overall some very good news," Ms Palaszczuk said.

Queensland Fire and Emergency Services personnel began cleaning up and assessing the cyclone's damage.

QFES said there were 190 QFES and Public Safety Business Agency personnel in the far northern region, including 29 SES volunteers, 20 rural firefighters, as well as 127 firefighters.

A regional operation centre was established in Cairns, as well as control centres at Port Douglas and Cooktown. - 

[3 PM] Cyclone Nathan down to cat 2

Tropical Cyclone Nathan has now been downgraded to a category two system and is expected to continue moving west and weaken.   

Tracking at 3pm revealed the system was 60 kilometres south southeast of Coen and 220 kilometres east southeast of Cape Keerweer.

But the weather bureau is warning people not to get too relaxed yet, with Nathan still expected to reintensify once it moves over the Gulf of Carpentaria on Saturday.   

The warning area is currently between Cape Sidmouth  and Cape Melville, including adjacent inland areas.    Numbulwar to Maningrida, including Groote Eylandt, Nhulunbuy and Elcho Island fall into the watch zone.   

The BOM recommends people in areas south of Coen and west of Princess Charlotte Bay should stay in a secure shelter with the risk of destructive winds over the next couple of hours.  

People elsewhere between Cape Sidmouth (south of Lockhart River) and Cape Melville, including adjacent inland areas should complete preparations and be prepared to shelter in a safe place.  

Meanwhile, Northern Territory residents that fall in the watch area are being asked to finalise their emergency kits and finish clearing yards and balconies. 

[11AM]: Cyclone Nathan weakening, but still potentially deadly

HE is growing weaker, but Cyclone Nathan remains a threat.

Now a Category Three after crossing the coast earlier this morning at a Category Four, Nathan is buffeting far north Queensland with winds of up to 165kmh near his eye.

The coastal centres were lucky to suffer "minimal damage" when the cyclone arrived before dawn.

Nathan is now 65km west southwest of Cape Melville, venturing west at 16kmh.

By later this afternoon, Nathan will weaken into a Category One then into a Tropical Low by 11pm, according to the Bureau of Meteorology.

Once it passes over the west coast of Queensland's north, it will again begin to strengthen as it heads towards the Northern Territory.



CYCLONE Nathan has done the right thing by Queensland.

It crossed the coast north of Cooktown at 4am, avoiding major urban centres.

Queensland Police and State Emergency Service crews are now surveying any damage done by system which crossed the coast as a Category Four, but is now rapidly weakening.

According to police, there "appears to be minimal damage around Cooktown, Hope Vale & Wujal Wujal".

The Bureau of Meteorology expects that Cyclone Nathan will re-form in the Gulf of Carpentaria, as it moves north-west towards the tip of the Northern Territory.

Tropical Cyclone Nathan can be seen approaching the Queensland coastline as a Category Four system in satellite images released by NASA.
Tropical Cyclone Nathan can be seen approaching the Queensland coastline as a Category Four system in satellite images released by NASA. NASA Goddard MODIS Rapid Response Team



THE humans of far north Queensland were not the only ones hunting for shelter as Cyclone Nathan buffeted the region.

A venomous taipan was spotted trying to find higher ground as heavy rains and winds lashed the coastal communities north of Cooktown.

As if a cyclone isn't enough to worry about.




CYCLONE Nathan is now a Category Three system. It is expected to continue weakening as it makes its way inland after crossing the coast this morning.


[FRIDAY 4.33AM ]

TROPICAL Cyclone Nathan has made landfall in far north Queensland as a Category Four system, smashing into the coastline just north of Cape Flattery.

It is delivering "very destructive" wind gusts of up to 230kmh.

Gale-force winds of 120kmh are reaching out more than 130km from the centre of the cyclone, buffeting coastal towns from Coen to Cape Tribulation

They will extend to Laura, Palmerville and north to the Lockhart River later in the morning.

The Bureau of Meteorology is warning of dangerous storm tides, damaging waves and flooding of low-lying areas.

Emergency services are asking Queenslanders in the area not to explore until the cyclone moves on.

SES Volunteers who helped the towns prepare for Nathan would soon return to help with the clean up.

Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) Regional Director Wayne Coutts said to expect fallen trees, power lines, debris and damage to infrastructure.

"If you have evacuated and are returning home, ensure you use the recommended routes only and under no circumstance should you attempt to cross flooded creeks or causeways.

"If electrical appliances in your home have been wet, do not use them until they're checked for safety and ensure you boil or purify water until supplies are declared safe."



From the Bureau:

Coastal residents between Cape Melville and Cooktown are specifically warned of the dangerous storm tide that could occur as the cyclone crosses the coast.

The sea is likely to rise steadily up to a level well above the normal tide, with damaging waves and flooding of some low-lying areas, which could also extend some way inland.

People living in areas likely to be affected by this flooding should take measures to protect their property as much as possible and be prepared to follow instructions regarding evacuation of the area if advised to do so by the authorities.

Elsewhere in the warning zone, water levels on the high tide could just exceed the highest tide of the year on Friday, with large waves possibly producing minor flooding along the foreshore.

Heavy rainfall, which may lead to flash flooding, is occurring about the coast and adjacent inland between Coen and Cape Tribulation, and will extend west across Cape York Peninsula with the passage of the cyclone today.

Separate Severe Weather Warnings are current; one for abnormally high tides on the coast from Cape Tribulation to Innisfail, and another for heavy rainfall and locally damaging wind gusts about the Peninsula and Gulf Country districts between Weipa and Kowanyama.

Nathan is heading west over the top of the state and is expected to weaken first to a Category Three at 10am, then to a Category One by later this afternoon.

Tomorrow morning it will be smouldering as a Low, crossing the Queensland coast once again but this time, on its way out to sea.

By Friday afternoon, it's possible the system could again intensify into a Category One, as it powers up over waters in the Gulf of Carpentaria.


[6:40 PM] 

RESIDENTS between Port Douglas and Lockhart River are being told to take shelter as Tropical Cyclone Nathan approaches the coast. 

The Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) advised that as at 5.51pm  severe Tropical Cyclone Nathan was about 140 kilometres east of Cape Flattery and 175 kilometres east northeast of Cooktown, travelling west at 12 kilometres per hour. 

The category three system is expected to intensify to a category four before landfall, most likely between Cape Melville and Cooktown early on Friday morning.
Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) Far Northern Regional Director Wayne Coutts said if an official evacuation order had not been issued for their community, the best option for residents was to shelter at home until the cyclone has passed.

"It's now time to cease any outdoor activity and bunker down for the night," Mr Coutts said.

"Bring your family to the strongest part of the house and ensure your emergency kit is close by.

"If the building you're sheltering in begins to break up, immediately seek shelter under a strong table or bench or under a heavy mattress.

Mr Coutts said if an official evacuation order had been issued, residents must leave their home immediately and seek shelter with friends or family who are further inland or on higher ground. 

"Before leaving, turn off all electricity, gas and water, unplug all appliances and lock your doors," Mr Coutts said. 

"Ensure your family members are wearing strong shoes and suitable clothing and take your emergency kit with you as you put your evacuation plan into action. If you are visiting or holidaying in Queensland and do not have family or friends to shelter with, contact your accommodation manager immediately to identify the options available.

"Stay inside until you have received official advice that the cyclone has passed. Some people are not aware of the calm eye of the cyclone and mistakenly venture outside thinking that the threat has passed.

"Heavy rain, which may lead to flash flooding, is possible as a result of TC Nathan so it is essential residents do not enter flooded roads and causeways," he said.


[4:00 pm] Cyclone Nathan tipped to be category four or five 

The lastest advice at 4.00 pm from the Bureau of Meteorology has Tropical Cyclone Nathan crossing the coast between Cape Melville and Cooktown.  

The cyclone is still a category three, with sustained winds near the centre of 140 kilometres per hour, gusting up to 195 km/h.   

The system is estimated to be 170 km east of Cape Flattery and 200 km east northeast of Cooktown and moving at 12 km/h.  

He is continuing to track westward and is expected to intensify before making landfall as a category four.   

BOM has told the media that at this stage, a category five system 'cannot be ruled out'.


[2:00 PM] TROPICAL Cyclone Nathan, which is expected to cross the Queensland coast on Friday, could become a category five system, the Bureau of Meteorology has told the ABC.

In its latest advice at 2pm, BOM said Cyclone Nathan was currently category 3 and still expected to intensify before crossing early Friday.

The warning zone extends from Lockhart River to Port Douglas, extending inland to areas including Laura and Palmerville.

A short time ago it  sustained winds near the centre of 140 kilometres per hour with wind gusts to 195 kilometres per hour.

It was estimated to be 185 kilometres east of Cape Flattery and 205 kilometres east northeast of Cooktown.

It was moving  west at 13 kilometres per hour.

"Further intensification is expected before the system makes landfall as a category 4 cyclone, most likely between Cape Melville and Cooktown early on Friday morning,'' the bureau statement said.

Maximum wind gusts are forecast to reach 260 km/h.

Gales may develop about coastal and island communities between Lockhart River and Port Douglas on Thursday evening and overnight, before extending inland to areas including Palmerville and Laura during Friday morning.

Destructive winds will extend out to about 70 kilometres from the centre of the cyclone and may begin to affect coastal and island communities between Cape Melville and Cape Tribulation late tonight and into Friday morning.

Heavy rainfall, which may lead to flash flooding, is expected to develop about the coast between Coen and Cape Tribulation tonight, extending west through inland parts with the passage of Tropical Cyclone Nathan on Friday.

- For cyclone preparedness and safety advice, visit Queensland's Disaster Management Services website (

- For emergency assistance call the Queensland State Emergency Service (SES) on 132 500 (for assistance with Rescue crews sent north as Cyclone Nathan approachesstorm damage, rising flood water, fallen trees on buildings or roof damage).

Rescue crews sent north as Cyclone Nathan approaches

RESCUE crews are on their way to far north Queensland as the state prepares to face the onslaught of Cyclone Nathan.

Queensland Fire and Emergency Servise is dispatching 51 urban search and rescue exprts from across the state ahead of Nathan's arrival.

These experts specialise in swiftwater rescue and rapid damage assessment.

SES volunteers have also been drawn out of central and northern Queensland so they are ready to help before and after Nathan smashes into the coastline.

The 41 volunteers will be working with residents to prepare their homes then be in place once the cyclone passes.



MONDAY 9AM: Cyclone Nathan to hit the Queensland as a Category Four

WHEN Cyclone Nathan comes ashore at 3am, it will strike near Cooktown as a Category Four system, delivering winds between 225kmh and 279kmh.

Earlier predictions from the Bureau of Meteorology had it making landfall on Friday at 10am as a Category Three.

It now appears Nathan is more powerful and moving faster than expected.

At 4pm, the system is expected to bulk up into a Category Four for its final run towards the Queensland coastline.

A cyclone warning zone is now in place from Coen to Innisfail, including inland areas of Laura and Palmerville.

The more expansive watch zone reaches from Lockhart River to Coen.

At 5.06am, Nathan was a Category Three -- a label it earned late on Wednesday afternoon -- and 355 northeast of Cairns. 

It is heading west at 8kmh.

Friday will mark one month since Cyclone Marcia made landfall in Central Queensland on February 20, leaving a trail of destruction through Yeppoon and Rockhampton.

It will also be Cyclone Nathan's second brush with the far north Queensland coastline, having come within 70km of the coastline earlier this month.

The Cook Shire Council is ordering residents to head to the PCYC Cooktown Events Centre if needed, but is warning people to stay in their homes or the homes of friends or family members.

See full weather advice from BOM below map.







WEDNESDAY 5PM: Cyclone Nathan upgraded to Category Three, tracking west

Tropical Cyclone Nathan has now been classified as a category three system, with the warning reaching between Cape Melville and Innisfail.   

The Bureau of Meteorology says Nathan is now beginning to adopt a more westwards track and should continue to intensify as it approaches the north Queensland coast.   

It is expected to cross the coast between Cape Melville and Port Douglas during Friday morning.   

The watch area has been extended north to the Lockhart River and cancelled between Innisfail to Cardwell.


11:15: Cyclone Nathan now Category Two, to strike on Friday

CYCLONE Nathan is now a Category Two system.

It is marching towards the far north Queensland coastline at 5kmh, carrying with it winds that are blowing at 130kmh.

By 10pm Wednesday, Nathan is expected to be a Category Three. 

Its wind speeds will be somewhere between 165kmh and 224kmh.

If the Bureau of Meteorology's latest predictions are correct, Nathan won't muscle up any further before hitting the Queensland coast between Cairns and Cape Melville on Friday morning.

Current estimates reckon the Category Three cyclone will hit Cooktown almost directly, then hold on to its strength for at least a few hours as it travels inland.

By Friday night, Nathan will have had his second attempt at smashing the coastline and be downgraded into a low.

If it strikes on Friday March 20, it will be exactly one month after Cyclone Marcia made landfall in Central Queensland, hammering Yeppoon and Rockhampton.




Cyclone Nathan to strike north of Port Douglas

ON Friday morning, Cyclone Nathan is expected to hit the Queensland coast just north of Port Douglas and Cairns as a Category Three system.

A cyclone warning zone is now in place from Coen to Cardwell, which includes Cairns.

In April 2014, Cairns was battered by the outskirts of Cyclone Ita as it smashed into far north Queensland.

It is to make landfall on March 20, exactly a month after Cyclone Marcia hit Shoalwater Bay in Central Queensland.

The latest predictions from the Bureau of Meteorology show less options for the strengthening system, with it now all-but-certain to make landfall then head west as it weakens into a Category One.

Nathan is expected to become a Category Two cyclone this afternoon, then a Category Three tomorrow morning.

The winds at its centre are already blowing at about 110kmh but "very destructive winds" will come as the cyclone intensifies.

As a Category Three, Nathan will have become a powerful system, with winds of between 165kmh and 224kmh.


UPDATE Tuesday, noon: Cyclone Nathan forecast to smash Queensland coast

TROPICAL Cyclone Nathan is forecast to finish what it started, striking the Queensland coastline on Friday morning after coming within 70km of landfall last week.

The latest Bureau of Meteorology predictions suggest that Nathan -- currently a Category One -- will build into a Category Two this evening, then into a Category Three on Wednesday evening.

READ MORE: RAAF flies in to help Vanuatu recover from Cyclone Pam

It will then barrel towards Queensland's east coast, with forecasters expecting it to make landfall between Cape Tribulation and Cooktown at 10am on Friday.

The uncertainty around the cyclone means a change of direction could push it towards Cairns.

Cooktown and Cape Tribulation will cop the worst of its very destructive winds, with Port Douglas to expect strong gale force winds.

Right now, Nathan is delivering winds of between 85kmh and 120kmh.

It is currently 500km east northeast of Cairns and moving south southwest at 4kmh

According to the BOM, "The system is expected remain relatively weak until Wednesday morning, but then begin to intensify in a much more favourable environment as it tracks towards the coast".

As a Category Three, Nathan will have become a powerful system, with winds of between 165kmh and 224kmh.

Its winds will be classed as "very destructive" with those in the area warned to expect "some roof and structural damage" and blackouts.

The BOM is yet to put a warning or watch zone in place for far north towns.



Monday: Cyclone Nathan could turn back to coast later this week

THE Bureau of Meteorology predicts coastal areas in Northern Queensland will feel the effects of Tropical Cyclone Nathan that is expected to head back towards the Queensland coast later this week.

Bureau spokesman Jess Carey said it was too early to indicate exactly what areas would feel the effects of Cyclone Nathan but said rainfall could hit as far south as Mackay in the worst case scenario. He said this was unlikely.

"It is most likely Townsville will be the southern boundary but it is something that is going to develop over the next few days," he said.

"Anything further south of Townsville is unlikely to feel the effects. But this can change very quickly."

Current forecasts show Cyclone Nathan will intensify and head back towards the coast on Wednesday, west of Cairns.

Mr Carey said no coastal impacts were predicted before then, which is why no warnings had been issued.

Last week Nathan was a category two cyclone and started heading towards the coast north of Cooktown before veering back out to sea.

It was downgraded to a category one then intensified to a category two and has remained at this level.

The forecast track is for the cyclone to head further west, towards Cairns, but BoM mapping shows a wider area it could possibly venture, encompassing areas west of Cooktown in the north and west of Townsville in the south.

Cyclone Nathan delays becoming a Category Three storm

CYCLONE Nathan is not expected to strengthen into a Category Three system now until late Wednesday, two days later than the Bureau of Meteorology predicted earlier today.

After becoming a Category Two storm this morning, Nathan was expected to be labelled a Cat Three by later this afternoon.

This will now not happen until Wednesday at 10pm, according to the BOM's advice released at 11am.

FOR THE LATEST: Updates on Cyclone Pam's path over New Zealand

The path of Nathan is still contentious, although modelling suggests it could start heading towards the state's coastline from Wednesday morning.

The BOM is emphasising that there is no way of knowing whether it will make landfall, even as other reports suggest it could hit between Mackay and Cape Flattery before the end of the week.

The official line from the BOM is, "Tropical Cyclone Nathan will have no impact on the Queensland coast in the short term" but it will keep an eye on its behaviour.

It is still too early for the BOM to designate Cyclone Warning areas along the coast.



MONDAY 7am update: CYCLONE Nathan will head towards the Queensland coastline later this week after muscling up into a Category Two this morning, but meteorologists say there is no reason to panic just yet.

After evolving into a Category Two cyclone at 4am on Monday, Nathan is predicted to become a Category Three by 4pm.

Although still 545km north-east of Cairns, Nathan's forecast to head  south for almost two days as a Cat Three before turning east towards the coastline.

At that point, it will be almost directly east of Cairns.

The official line from the BOM is, "Tropical Cyclone Nathan will have no impact on the Queensland coast in the short term".

Some weather experts have warned it could strike between Mackay and Cape Flattery on Friday but BOM forecaster Sean Fitzgerald said it was unclear which way the system would go.

"It's probably important to note that there is a high degree of uncertainty in this track at the moment."

No parts of Queensland have been designated as Cyclone Warning or Cyclone Watch zones by the BOM.

Nathan gave Queensland's far north a fright when it appeared south of Papua New Guinea, then charged for the Cape York Peninsula last week.

However, the power of Cyclone Pam in the Pacific forced Nathan into u-turn, dragging him away from the coastline.

Now an upper ridge over Queensland is helping to bring him back.