Travellers in Airlie Beach in the process of leaving town.
Travellers in Airlie Beach in the process of leaving town. Peter Carruthers

'Warning zone' declared, visitors getting out of Airlie

WHILE Shute Harbour Rd at Hamilton Plains remains open travelers are getting out of town while they still can as newly formed Tropical Cyclone Iris tracks south to the Whitsundays.

At the Island Gateway Holiday Park in Jubilee Pocket most have already vacated and manager Meera Loader said those that remain probably don't realise the gravity of the unfolding situation.

"We have had few calls with people concerned about the weather patterns. But I don't know if our international tourists are really that aware of the bigger weather patterns," she said.

 

Manager of the Island Gateway Holiday Park Meera Loader says most travellers have already got left Airlie Beach.
Manager of the Island Gateway Holiday Park Meera Loader says most travellers have already left Airlie Beach. PETER CARRUTHERS

"I think they think its just raining quite heavily."

At the Airlie Beach foreshore Channel 7 weather reporters are conducting live crosses to the Sunrise program and workers are taking down signs and shade sails.

 

Channel 7 Brisbane does a live cross to the Sunrise program from the Airlie Beach foreshore this morning.
Channel 7 Brisbane does a live cross to the Sunrise program from the Airlie Beach foreshore this morning. Peter Carruthers

An ominous grey sky has enveloped Airlie Beach and backpackers in rain coats are departing on buses.

Ms Loader said she and her staff have been advising travellers about the flooding situation around Cairns and Port Douglas and helping them by planning their next move.

"There have been a few who don't realise how much rain has been coming down up north and how much is still coming."

 

Port of Airlie Workers take down signs in Airlie Beach ahead of the strong winds expected to be created by Cyclone Iris.
Port of Airlie Workers take down signs in Airlie Beach ahead of the strong winds expected to be created by Cyclone Iris. PETER CARRUTHERS

Most water based tour boats have remained in the marinas today after Cyclone Iris was upgraded to a Category 2 storm and began to track south in the direction of the Whitsundays.

The Bureau of Meteorology's "warning zone" now reaches form Ayr in the north to Sarina in the south.

Earlier this morning the storm was located 290 kms north east of Townsville and is moving and is a "slow" moving system with sustained winds near the centre of 100 km/h hour with wind gusts to 140 km/h.

 

Airlie Beach's main street looking dark and stormy.
Airlie Beach's main street looking dark and stormy. Peter Carruthers