Forecasters say Douglas downpour likely /Newsport

Forecasters say Douglas downpour likely

Friday March 7 2014

The new Douglas Shire Council is preparing for its first significant weather event.

A tropical low in the Coral Sea is likely to dump hundreds of millimetres of rain across far north Queensland this weekend.

The Bureau of Meteorology issued a cyclone watch on Friday morning, with heavy rainfall expected in the Douglas region.

Forecasters say the low is expected to form into a cyclone on Sunday and impact communities further south.

Council General Manager, Paul Hoye said it was important to be prepared.

"There's still a whole lot of unpredictably with the system," he said.

"Key personnel for us will be available throughout the weekend.

"The SES have sand and sandbags for us. We're certainly taking it seriously."

Council's local disaster coordination centre is currently on standby, Mr Hoye said.  

Duty forecaster Greg Connor urged residents to prepare for possible wild weather.

"At this stage, even though we're optimistic the effects on the Port Douglas and Mossman area will be minimal, we're asking people to think about their cyclone plan," he said.

"That means clearing up their yard and making sure they have an adequate cyclone kit."

Mr Hoye said he didn't expect the recently built Port Douglas Storm Surge Cyclone Shelter to be used over the weekend.

The shelter, he said, would only be used in the event of a storm surge or extreme circumstances.

"It's something we never hope to activate but it's also a great piece of public infrastructure as well," he said.

"There'd need to be some significant risk to life as a result of storm tide for us to open the shelter."

The $5.5 million shelter was completed last year and can accommodate between 600 and 800 people.

The council and emergency services held an information session for residents at the shelter on Thursday night.