‘Should have been Cat 2’: Residents’ scary cyclone night
Update 12.50pm: Ergon crews have restored power to all affected customers on Mornington Island.
Residents at Karumba and Normanton have been without power since about 3.30pm, Sunday, before Tropical Cyclone Imogen crossed the coast. Crews are currently working on-site in these areas.
Earlier: MORE than 1300 Ergon Energy customers in the Carpentaria Shire Council area are without power after Tropical Cyclone Imogen made landfall about 9pm, Sunday just north of Karumba.
The storm crossed the coast as a category one system.
Rose Bouwens, who has lived in Karumba for 28 years, believes the cyclone should have been rated category 2.
"I have never felt it like that, I think it should have been category 2, we have been through category 1 cyclones and they were nothing," she said.
"It was terrible. I think we had over 200m of rain. It was scary.
"Two boats got blown up from the river into the mangroves, there's a lot of solid fences down, the canopy is off the kids playground and ripped to pieces, there's an upside down carport near the post office, and a coconut palm on top of a house.
"The reason we lost so many trees is because we have already had rain and the ground was sodden," she said.
"All the leaves got ripped off everything at our place, just the velocity of the wind."
At the Les Wilson Barramundi Discovery Centre in Karumba, a big clean up is under way.
Verena Olesch said the noise of Cyclone Imogen was "pretty horrendous".
"We are doing a walk through now and surveying the carnage; it felt pretty full on.
"The houses were shaking for a few hours with wind gusts of well over 100kph, it lasted for quite a few hours, well after midnight.
"The barra centre has lost panelling and sheeting and there's bits of houses and fences around, trees down and the water mains damaged," she said.
Alicia Tempany of Gulf Country Caravan Park in Karumba said it was a "very blowy" night.
"It was very windy with a good amount of rain, now it is clearing and we have no structural damage, thank God, but trees are down," she said.
"We have an extra ambulance person sent up here staying in one of our units but it's rated category five and he was comfortable.
"We just use common sense, we'd done our cyclone proofing, putting everything away, and now it will just be cleaning up," she said.
"Our rescue wallabies came up onto the verandah before going to their safe place under the house."
Normanton resident and Facebook user Lilian Van Kimmenade Forman shared images of uprooted trees.
"Well if this is a category 1 cyclone I'd hate to see what its like in a 2 or 3," she said in her post.
"I've never felt so scared in all the years I've lived here."
Karumba resident Dusty Langton said the damage could have been worse.
"Our place did OK, pool has lots of sand in it, that will be fun," he said.
The Normanton Tourist Park shared pictures of an uprooted tree falling on gas cylinders along with a statement saying the park would be closed.
"With severe winds and rainfall occurring last night we are sorry to advise, that we have to close the park," the post read.
"We have a tonne of clean up here to be done, and with the cyclone currently coming through here, it is too unsafe for people to stay. We will advise when the park reopens again."
Tropical cyclone Imogen is moving further inland over the eastern Gulf Country. A transition to a tropical low is expected soon, but heavy rainfall and localised damaging winds remain possible. #CycloneImogen https://t.co/rVLE6i5J4y pic.twitter.com/kM8OxrxGXm— Bureau of Meteorology, Queensland (@BOM_Qld) January 3, 2021
An Ergon Energy spokeswoman said crews from the Mareeba and the Tablelands would fly to affected regions and assist with recovery efforts.
"An Atherton crew is due to fly to Mornington Island from Mareeba shortly and their priority will be to restore power to 180 customers at Gununa," the spokeswoman said.
"They'll have a better idea of network damage once they are on the ground.
"Reinforcements from Mareeba will be backing up the crew from the Normanton depot, whose priority will be to restore power to more than 1000 customers around Normanton, Karumba and surrounding areas.
Area Manager Charlie Casa said the high-voltage network that supplied these customers covered a wide area, so crews would be doing aerial patrols to assess the damage as soon as it was safe.
"Floodwaters have obviously cut access to some parts of the network," Mr Casa said.
"The high-voltage network that supplies these customers covers a wide area and finding faults in the current conditions is challenging because we can't do aerial patrols and flooding is likely to impede access to work sites on the ground.
"It's a waiting game, but as soon as there is a window of opportunity our crews will be out inspecting the network, assessing the damage and fixing faults so they can safely restore power to all affected customers.
Originally published as 'Should have been Cat 2': Residents' scary cyclone night