By Stuart Layt & Evan Schwarten
Residents in coastal areas of Queensland have been given a reprieve from drenching rain on Saturday, but authorities are warning of worse weather to finish the Easter weekend.
Ex-tropical cyclone Iris is continuing to approach the coast, producing hazardous surf conditions across the Fraser and south-east Queensland coasts during Saturday, after closing a number of Gold Coast beaches on Friday.
However the rain has held off, with the largest falls recorded just 13 millimetres in the Clarke Range north-east of Mackay.
Weather bureau forecaster Laura Pattie said that was due to change by Sunday, with heavier falls predicted as the low pressure system finally crosses the coast.
“Particularly in the evening Sunday night into Monday we’re expecting rainfall to really pick up,” she said.
“Coastal parts particularly north of Bundaberg can expect to see some of that significant rainfall.”
Initial falls in excess of 60 millimetres are possible wherever the system crosses the coast, with some areas potentially getting up to 500 millimetres over three days.
Forecasters still unable to say with certainty where the system will cross the coast, only narrowing it down to north of Bundaberg and south of Townsville.
That does mean rain-drenched parts of the state north of Townsville will get a reprieve after being inundated by ex-tropical cyclone Nora last week.
Emergency services in the far north are taking no chances, sandbagging around low-lying areas in case the ex-cyclone changes course and heads towards the region.
Authorities have also urged those going away over the Easter weekend to prepare for the heavy falls and avoid travelling if possible.
“There’s a clear message for everyone that’s travelling over the weekend, from Sunday night to next Wednesday, there’ll be heavy rain everywhere,” State Disaster Co-ordinator and Deputy Police Commissioner Bob Gee said.
Source : The Brisbane Times