North-eastern Australia prepares for ‘destructive’ Tropical Cyclone Jasper

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Nevin Al Sukari - Sana'a - CAIRNS (Australia), Dec 12 — The north-eastern Australian cities of Cairns and Port Douglas readied today for the arrival of Tropical Cyclone Jasper, which is expected to bring “destructive” winds and flash flooding.

The Category Two storm has been slowly churning across the Coral Sea, with the core of the cyclone expected to hit Australia’s eastern coast sometime around 1pm local time tomorrow (0300 GMT/11am Malaysian time).

The tourist cities of Cairns and Port Douglas — both gateways to the Great Barrier Reef — are in the path of the storm.

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Meteorologists have predicted winds of 140 kilometres per hour, heavy rain and possible storm tides.

Miriam Bradbury of Australia’s state Bureau of Meteorology said there was a possibility of “destructive” gusts.

“Winds of this strength can easily bring down tree limbs, whole trees or power lines,” she warned.

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Authorities are warning of damage to fences, roofs and other property — urging residents to tie down loose items before the storm arrives.

Flood watches are in place for rivers across the region and power has preemptively been cut to areas where damage is expected.

State energy minister Mick de Brenni said power would start being cut late Tuesday as a “preventative” measure — one that would limit damage to infrastructure and allow power to be restored more quickly after the storm passes through. — AFP

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