Severe tropical cyclone bears down on north Australia coast

SYDNEY, Australians in the north east of the country are bracing for a severe tropical cyclone, with authorities warning of flash flooding and destructive winds.

Cyclone Owen has been strengthening off the north coast of Queensland

state, in warm waters in the Gulf of Carpentaria, and is expected to reach

category four defined as a severe tropical cyclone with very destructive

winds when it makes landfall early Saturday morning.

With landfall there will be significant storm tide for locations along the

coast, Richard Wardle from the Queensland state Bureau of Meteorology said

Friday.

There will also be heavy rainfall that could lead to flash flooding. There

will be very destructive winds and abnormally high tides on the east coast of

Queensland, once the system makes it to that side, he added.

Winds up to 200 kilometres (124 miles) per hour are expected as the cyclone

reaches land near the border of the Northern Territory and Queensland, before

making its way down the east coast.

Emergency services have sent dozens of extra personnel to towns in the path

of the cyclone.

Tonight, bed down and stay safe, take your medication with you, a torch

and make sure you have a really good idea of a place of safety, State

disaster coordinator Bob Gee said.

We are ready to press the button if there is a damage or need for help as

soon as we possibly can.

Australia is no stranger to extreme weather, experiencing flash floods,

sandstorms and even extreme drought in some areas.

Queensland is still recovering from bushfires last month that burned across

the state amid an unprecedented heatwave, while Cyclone Nora tracked a

similar path to that of Cyclone Owen in March, bringing heavy rain and

flooding.

In 2017 Cyclone Debbie pummelled Queensland after crashing ashore as a

category four storm, ripping up trees, washing boats onto land and causing

widespread damage along one of Australia's most prominent tourist regions.

Source: Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha (BSS)