Esther makes landfall and downgrades to tropical low
CYCLONE Esther's anticipated arrival in the Gulf country brought little impact to communities as the category one system crossed the coast near the Queensland and Northern Territory border.
The storm, with wind gusts up to 100km/h, made landfall in the remote region about 12.30pm yesterday and was last night downgraded to a tropical low.
Although the Bureau of Meteorology issued weather warnings for the town, Karumba Point Sunset Caravan Park worker Lucy Brown said yesterday was "just a normal day".
"We had nothing at all - no rain," she said. "We have eight or nine long-timers in at the moment and they were happy we didn't have to evacuate them. It is what it is - if you get (a cyclone), you get one, if you don't, you don't."
To the west, Doomadgee Roadhouse's Paul Jones said the area had received plenty of rain but nothing like the strong winds predicted.
"There's just been some light breeze," he said.
Parts of the Far North recorded more than 200mm of rain in the 24 hours to 9am yesterday as Cyclone Esther was taking shape.
Bureau forecaster Livio Regano said the category one system was "very slow to form".
"We were first expecting it to form on Saturday night, but it didn't happen until earlier this morning," he said yesterday.
"It's struggling to maintain its category one strength."
He said the cyclone had been in a good environment to intensify, then would become a rain depression and move west. Aurukun recorded the biggest total in the Far North, with 235mm.
Mayor Derek Walpo said the community handled the downpour well and was expected to be back to business as usual from today.
"We're all pretty used to it - we had hundreds of millimetres but that's not uncommon up here during the wet season," he said.
Mornington Island, near the centre of Cyclone Esther, recorded 172mm.
A warning zone was in place yesterday from Port Roper to Karumba, including Borroloola and Mornington Island and adjacent inland areas between Cape Crawford and Century Mine, including Doomadgee.
Yesterday afternoon, acting Regional Harbour Master Captain David Ferguson cancelled a yellow alert that had been issued for the Port of Karumba.
WET DAYS FORECAST TO EASE OFF
Cairns can expect one last healthy bucketing of rain today, after copping a combined total of almost 150mm over the past three days.
The rain gauge at the Cairns Airport recorded 61mm on Saturday, 52mm on Sunday and 29mm yesterday.
Bureau of Meteorology forecaster Rosa Hoff said the region could still expect to see up to 35mm today as a parting gift from Cyclone Esther.
"The increase in showers over the weekend was because of Esther pulling in easterly ocean winds, which increased the capacity for rainfall," she said. "We're expecting Cyclone Esther to weaken overnight now it's centred over land as it tracks across the Northern Territory.
"After (today), things should start getting back down to normal in Cairns with forecasts of below 20mm, though that will depend on how the winds develop as Esther moves west."
Maximum temperatures will also start to pick up as the showers weaken, with a top of 34C expected on Friday.
Heaviest totals to 9am Monday
Flaggy Creek (near Kuranda)....... 109mm
Westmoreland Station (near Karumba)108mm