Beaches left eroded as ex-tropical cyclone Oma impacts on south-east Queensland's coastline

UPDATE Saturday 11.30am

COOCHIEMUDLO Island's Main Beach has been left eroded and full of debris after big wind gusts and high water levels associated with ex-tropical cyclone Oma.

Wind gusts of 74km/h were recorded at Cape Moreton at 11.30am, while those at Alexandra Hills were reaching 56km/h.

Dangerous surf conditions are expected to continue on Sunday, and ease from the south on Monday, according to the Bureau of Meteorology.

BOM reported at 11am on Saturday that Oma had transitioned into a sub-tropical low and been declassified as a tropical cyclone.

"Dangerous surf conditions are occurring about exposed beaches along the southeast Queensland coast south of Sandy Cape, including the Sunshine Coast and Gold Coast," BOM"s severe weather warning said.

"Water levels on the high tide are likely to continue to exceed the highest tide of the year about the south-east Queensland coast for the remainder of the weekend."

Wind gusts of more than 90km/h were likely on the coast and islands.

Damaging winds might extend to the southern border ranges inland to about Springbrook and Tamborine Mountain.

UPDATE Friday 4pm

POLICE have boosted their resources on North Stradbroke, Russell and Macleay islands as Cyclone Oma continues to impact the south-east Queensland coast.

A police spokesperson said the Bayside Patrol Group deployed two extra officers and a vehicle to North Stradbroke, Russell and Macleay islands.

"The Bayside Patrol Group is prepared and in a position to respond and support the communities on all Southern Moreton Bay Islands if required," the spokesperson said.

"This decision was made to support local police on the islands and to optimise our workforce to face the unknown risk currently presented by Cyclone Oma.

The deployments would complement the normal policing resources at Dunwich, Russell Island and Macleay police stations.

"This platform will put police on the front-foot if a disaster situation eventuates from Cyclone Oma," the spokesperson said.

Meanwhile Bureau of Meteorology Queensland state manager Bruce Gunn said meteorologists would keep a close eye on the cyclon until it no longer posed a threat.

He said Cyclone Oma was very large, about twice the diameter of Cyclone Debbie.

"The main impacts are damaging winds along the coastal fringe and big seas, well into next week," Mr Gunn said.

"We're observing waves of three to four metres waves along the Sunshine, Gold and Tweed coasts with offshore waves in excess of 10 metres.

"These are expected to increase during the weekend."

Mr Gunn said the severe weather warning for dangerous surf, abnormally high tides and damaging winds, covered exposed coastal areas from Fraser Island to northern NSW.

"Surf and swell conditions will continue to be extremely hazardous for coastal activities such as rock fishing, boating, swimming and surfing," he said.

"Beaches are closed and authorities are warning the public to stay out of the water this weekend for their own safety."

UPDATE 1pm

WAVES of 12 to 13 metres high have been recorded off Point Lookout, says the Bureau of Meteorology.

BOM has warned that significant beach erosion could occur while the waves push into the south-east Queensland coast.

Meanwhile, Amity Trader have shut down the ferry between the mainland and Coochiemudlo Island from midday until 3pm.

Operations manager Joel Ianna said it had become too unsafe with the amount of swell at the pontoons.

In a severe weather warning issued at 12.45pm, BOM said an 89km/h wind gust was recorded at Gold Coast Seaway at 11.38am on Friday.

Maximum wave heights of 12 to 13 metres were recorded off Point Lookout and at Mooloolaba.

This is larger than those recorded in cyclone Oswald.

Surf Life Saving Australia has recommended people stay out of the water and well away from surf-exposed areas and the water's edge.

For assistance contact the SES on 132 500.

UPDATE 11.30am

A 113KM/H wind gust was recorded at Cape Moreton at 8.24am, according to the Bureau of Meteorology.

The Bureau said maximum wave heights greater than those in Cyclone Oswald were recorded off Point Lookout on Friday morning.

In a severe weather warning for damaging winds, abnormally high tides and dangerous surf issued at 10.44am, BOM said dangerous surf conditions were expected to continue over the weekend.

High tide is around midday.

UPDATE 9am

FOUR-WHEEL-DRIVE motorists have been reminded that some beaches may become impassable at low tide as the impact of Tropical Cyclone Oma is felt on Queensland's coast.

A Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service spokesperson reminded drivers to be careful travelling on exposed beaches and to plan to travel only at low tide if it was safe to do so.

The spokesperson said drivers should remember that driving over vegetated dunes was not allowed and on-the-spot fines could apply.

"QPWS rangers and Queensland Police will be conducting additional patrols over the coming week," the spokesperson said.

There were no plans to close the Great Sandy National Park, Cooloola Recreation Area or the Bribie Island National Park and Recreate Area but there might be restrictions at some camping areas that might be impacted by storm surges or strong winds.

"No new camping permits will be issued for the open beach camping areas of K’gari, Moreton Island, Teewah Beach or Bribie Island until conditions improve," the spokesperson said.

RISING: High tide at Victoria Point boat ramp on Thursday morning. Photo: Joe Daaboul

RISING: High tide at Victoria Point boat ramp on Thursday morning. Photo: Joe Daaboul

"Vehicle access permits remain available."

QPWS has issued park alerts for all of the south east coastal parks advising campers to expect strong winds, large swell and abnormally high tides.

All current camping and vehicle permit holders have been contacted about the expecting conditions and been asked to reconsider their plans to travel over the coming week.

Rangers would also visit campers to speak with them about the developing weather situation.

Campers can check for updated information at parks.des.qld.gov.au/park-alerts.

UPDATE FRIDAY 6am

TROPICAL Cyclone Oma has weakened to category 1 and the Cyclone Watch cancelled for the south-east Queensland and northern NSW coast.

it is forecast to strengthen back to category 2 during Friday.

The Bureau of Meteorology has warned that abnormally high tides and dangerous surf conditions are still expected to continue.

BOM said four to six metre waves had been recorded offshore of North Stradroke Island on Thursday.

In its Tropical Cyclone advice at 5am, BOM said that Oma was expected to move in a generally south to southwesterly direction during Friday and early Saturday.

"Oma's motion becomes slow moving to the north during Saturday, remaining offshore through the weekend and early next week," the warning said.

BOM also issued a severe weather warning for high tides, dangerous surf and damaging winds at 5am.

Wind gusts exceeding 90km/h were likely on the exposed coast and islands between Sandy Cape and the Queensland/NSW border on Friday and Saturday.

"Water levels on the high tide are likely to continue to exceed the highest tide of the year the south-east Queensland coast over the coming days and may exceed the highest tide of the year by around one metre at beachfront locations exposed to wave action," the warning said.

"This has the potential to be a significant beach erosion event given the combination of the increasing surf, abnormally high tides and the fact that these conditions should persist for a few days."

UPDATE 7pm (Thursday)

SELF-SERVICE sandbagging stations have been set up at Cleveland and on North Stradbroke, Russell and Macleay islands.

Redland City mayor Karen Williams said the full impact and final path of Tropical Cyclone Oma were unknown but the Bureau of Meteorology was forecasting large swells and strong winds coupled with high king tides that could cause tidal inundation.

"Rain is also forecast, possibly becoming heavy depending on TC Oma’s path," Cr Williams said.

"Council is offering sand bags to those who wish to prepare their properties for these possibilities.

"There is no need for panic but as the cyclone’s path is difficult to predict, it is highly important for all residents to stay informed and seek out official updates."

The sandbagging stations would initially open from Thursday (February 21) to 7pm on Sunday (February 24).

The mainland station is at the Cleveland council depot, entry via South Street from 7am to 7pm, with council staff onsite to assist.

On North Stradbroke Island, a station is open 24 hours outside the council depot, 11-37 Mitchell Crescent, Dunwich.

On Macleay Island a depot is open 24 hours at 22-24 Scarborough Terrace, while on Russell Island a 24 hour station is available outside the council depot at 6 High Street.

Shovels, sand and sand bags will be supplied at the self-serve stations.

Residents are allowed a maximum of 10 sand bags per household.

Enclosed shoes must be worn.

Redland SES is able to deliver sandbags to elderly, frail or mobility-impaired community members. To access this SES service, contact 132 500.

Coochiemudlo Island ferry

AMITY Trader has announced that the vehicle barge will not operate on Friday, Saturday or Sunday due to dangerous conditions posed by Tropical Cyclone Oma.

The last ferry service from Victoria Point will be at 7pm on Friday.

Amity Trader will announce operations for Saturday and Sunday the previous afternoon.

"At this stage weather predictions have the wind and seas at dangerous levels over the next three days and we feel that it will be unsafe to operate and so the services will be stopped," Amity Trade said in an announcement.

"We have decided to make this decision now in order to allow people sufficient time to make alternate arrangements or cancel any travel plans they may have for the weekend."

The announcement said the shutdowns would be reviewed each night for the following day.​

UPDATE 4.15pm

STRADBROKE Ferries have cancelled all travel between Cleveland and North Stradbroke Island on Friday.

The vehicle ferry between Redland Bay and the Southern Moreton Bay Islands on Friday has also been cancelled on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

A Stradbroke Ferries spokesperson said passenger services would continue on Friday, but this was subject to change.

Amity Trade has announced there would be no vehicle barge between Victoria Point and Coochiemudlo Island on Friday.

The Bay Islands Transit passenger ferries would run until 4.45pm from Russell Island on Friday and 3.30pm from Redland Bay on Friday.

The Stradbroke Ferries spokesperson said the ferries could be stopped at any time over the weekend as gale force winds were forecast.

All ferry services urged people not to travel unless it was essential.

Amity Trader said the passenger ferry between Coochie and the mainland would operate as normal but may cease if it becomes unsafe.

A decision would be taken on Friday regarding the operation of the Coochiemudlo Island vehicle ferry on Saturday and Sunday.

Amity Trade discouraged any non-essential travel and warned parents sending children to school that there was no guarantee they could be returned to the island due to the weather.

BOM update

IN AN updated severe weather warning issued at 4pm, the Bureau of Meteorology said Tropical Cyclone Oma was expected to continue moving towards south-east Queensland into Friday, while maintaining category 2 intensity.

Dangerous surf conditions were forecast, and wind in a excess of 90km/h may develop on Friday.

"Water levels on the high tide are likely to exceed the highest tide of the year along the south-east Queensland coast over the coming days and may exceed the highest tide of the year by around one metre at beachfront locations exposed to wave action," the warning said.

UPDATE 12.15pm

THE effects of Tropical Cyclone Oma are already being felt along the Queensland coast, according to the Bureau of Meteorology.

BOM Queensland state manager Bruce Gunn said warnings were in place for higher than normal tides and dangerous surf conditions.

Oma is forecast to approach the southern Queensland coast this weekend.

A Tropical Cyclone Watch is in place covering the coast from Bundaberg to Ballina.

"Surf and swell conditions will be hazardous for coastal activities such as rock fishing, boating, and swimming and many beaches are already closed for public safety," Mr Gunn said.

Even experienced swimmers and surfers were advised to stay out of the water.

"Forecast certainty is shaping up to see the most likely scenario that Cyclone Oma will approach the coast this weekend, and a coastal crossing cannot be ruled out at this stage," Mr Gunn said.

"Gale force winds are possible for exposed coastal beaches, combined with heavy rainfall.

"Forecast rainfall totals are largely dependent on the cyclone track, and there still are a wide range of scenarios at this point."

BOM said it was unusual but not unprecedented for a cyclone to track so far south.

Cyclone Nancy in 1990 was the last cyclone to directly impact Brisbane.

It did not make landfall but grazed the coast near Byron Bay before moving offshore.

The main impacts were coastal erosion and flooding for Gold Coast beaches and the adjacent Hinterland.

North Stradbroke Island beaches

LIFEGUARDS have closed both Cylinder and Main beaches on North Stradbroke Island due to dangerous surf conditions.

UPDATE 11.30am

WATER levels on the morning high tides could exceed the highest tide of the year by about a metre over the next few days.

The Bureau of Meteorology has issued a cyclone watch for coastal parts of south-east Queensland and northern NSW.

An advice issued by BOM stated that Tropical Cyclone Oma was expected to maintain a category 2 intensity while moving in southwesterly towards south-east Queensland coast on Thursday and Friday.

"Although Oma is not expected to make landfall in the coming days it will be close enough to produce direct impacts along the Queensland and NSW coast," the advice said.

Abnormally high tides and dangerous surf conditions were expected over the next few days and into early next week.

"Seas and swell are expected to increase well ahead of the approach of Oma with dangerous surf developing about the east coast of Fraser Island and Wide Bay coast north or Bargara later this afternoon and evening," the advice said.

"These conditions are then expected to extend south over the remaining southeastern Queensland coast and northern NSW coast during this evening and Friday.

"Beach erosion is likely to continue with the hazardous marine conditions."

EARLIER

STRADBROKE Ferries have announced updated passenger and vehicle ferry travel between Cleveland and North Stradbroke Island ahead of wild weather expected over the next few days.

A spokesperson said that working off the current forecast for Friday to Sunday, only one vehicle ferry would operate and only essential travel on the water taxi was recommended for the weekend.

"Winds are predicted to reach gale force from tomorrow so travel will not be guaranteed even at the reduced timetable," the spokesperson said.

The spokesperson said the water taxi could be stopped at any point throughout the weekend so they were urging people not to travel unless it was essential.

The spokesperson said the last water taxi service would be at 5.25pm departing Cleveland and 5.55pm departing Dunwich from Friday to Sunday.

There would be no 4pm or 5pm vehicle ferry departing Cleveland on Thursday.

There would be one combined service at 4.30pm which would be the last for the day.

A combined 5.30pm service from Dunwich would be the last for the afternoon.

There would be no 5pm or 6pm vehicle ferry departing from Dunwich.

The spokesperson said only the Quandamooka vehicle ferry would operate on Friday.

"The last service from Cleveland will be 4pm," the spokesperson said.

"The last service from Dunwich will be 5pm."

On Saturday and Sunday the Quandamooka vehicle ferry would only operate, with the last service from Cleveland at 2pm and the last from Dunwich at 3pm.