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Cyclone Jasper makes landfall in Australia

By AFP
December 14, 2023

PALM COVE, Australia: Tropical Cyclone Jasper hit northeast Australia on Wednesday, leaving thousands of people in coastal communities without power and preparing for potentially “life-threatening” floods.

The Category Two storm barrelled in off the Coral Sea, making landfall at around 5:00 pm on Wednesday (0700 GMT), government meteorologists said.

Cyclone Jasper hits Australia. — AFP File
Cyclone Jasper hits Australia. — AFP File

Damaging winds of up to 113-kms per hour were recorded as Jasper hit the coast, while meteorologists said pummelling rains could swamp some areas with flash flooding.

Rough surf, strong winds and heavy rain pelted the seaside town of Palm Cove, where usually bustling restaurants and high-end hotels battened down the hatches and waited for the storm to pass.

Uprooted vegetation littered the town´s coastal promenade and rows of coconut palms and melaleuca trees bowed under the strain of Jasper´s gusts.

“It´s over the next few hours that we are expecting to see that heavy rainfall really picking up,” government meteorologist Miriam Bradbury said on Wednesday afternoon as the storm loomed at sea.

“As the tropical cyclone nears the coast, that´s when we are going to see the most dangerous and most impactful weather developing.”

The cyclone “slowly” made landfall near the largely Aboriginal settlement of Wujal Wujal, the Bureau of Meteorology said, whipping up “destructive wind gusts”.

The tourist cities of Cairns and Port Douglas -- both gateways to the Great Barrier Reef -- were also in the path of the storm.