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11 Mar 2009 description

The tropical cyclone 'Hamish' has been downgraded to a category two storm, off the coast of the Australian state of Queensland.

The cyclone is expected to weaken even further and turn slowly to the north west.

Earlier, gale force winds and huge waves caused disruptions to flights.

The severe weather also battered a cargo ship, which lost 32 large containers of the potentially dangerous chemical ammonium nitrate.

Queensland maritime authorities say they are assessing the risk from the spilt chemicals.

Disruptions

Brisbane Airport has been monitoring winds generated …

09 Mar 2009 description

Last Updated: Mon, 9 Mar 2009 10:48:00 +1100

Residents along central and southern coasts of Australia's north-east state of Queensland are preparing for flooding from a predicted storm surge caused by tropical cyclone Hamish.

Hamish is 230 kilometres north-north-east of the town of Yeppoon and about 400 kilometres north of Bundaberg.

The cyclone is weakening and coastal communities are likely to be spared any major damage as the category 4 storm continues to travel south.

09 Mar 2009 description

SYDNEY, March 9 (Reuters) - A tropical cyclone off Australia's northeast coast, with destructive 295 kph (177 mph) winds, was weakening on Monday and not expected to hit the coast, weather officials said.

Evacuations of thousands of people, many tourists from offshore island resorts, had been put on hold to see if the storm would weaken from a category four, the second-highest grading, to a category three.

Cyclone Hamish was travelling in a southeastern track parallel to the coast and predicted to move further out to sea in the next 24 hours, Cyclone warning centre forecaster …

09 Mar 2009 description

Plans to move thousands of residents from Hervey Bay to Brisbane have been put on hold as Tropical Cyclone Hamish continues to weaken off the central Queensland coast.

The weather bureau says the category 4 storm is 215 kilometres north-east of Yeppoon and slowly moving south-east.

The bureau expects to downgrade Hamish to a category 3 cyclone today and it should become a category 2 storm by tomorrow.

Weather bureau spokesman Jim Davidson says the immediate threat is over, but people should remain on alert until Wednesday.

"We're not out of the woods yet," he …

08 Mar 2009 description

The Queensland Department of Emergency Services is deploying extra staff and resources to major coastal centres under threat from Cyclone Hamish.

Weather forecasters are predicting the Category 4 cyclone will cross the Queensland coast on Tuesday morning between Bundaberg and Hervey Bay.

Up to 10,000 residents of Queensland's Wide Bay region are being told to consider getting out before Cyclone Hamish arrives.

Twenty Incident Management Team members are on stand-by to move in if Cyclone Hamish causes any damage to coastal communities between Bundaberg and Hervey Bay.

An …

08 Mar 2009 description

By Andree Withey and Shelley Lloyd

Tropical Cyclone Hamish is expected to pound the Whitsundays as it roars along Queensland's north coast.

The category five storm is about 145 kilometres to the north-east of Hayman Island, and forecasters say Hamish is as destructive as cyclone Larry, which caused large-scale destruction in 2006.

Hamish, forecast to bring gusts of up to 160 kilometres per hour, rising sea levels and huge waves, is already buffeting the Whitsundays region, whipping up wild seas and destructive winds across the state's north.

Queensland Cyclone Warning …

08 Mar 2009 description

Tropical Cyclone Hamish is forecast to pose the greatest risk to central Queensland and the Wide Bay region of the state.

Lady Elliot and Heron Islands, off the coast of Gladstone, are being evacuated as a precaution, and the same is happening on Fraser Island.

Forecasters say the Category 4 cyclone - which intensified to a Category 5 storm last night but has since been downgraded - is as destructive as Larry, which caused billion-dollar destruction in 2006.

08 Mar 2009 description

SYDNEY, March 8 (Reuters) - Thousands of tourists and residents were evacuated from island resorts on Australia's Great Barrier Reef on Sunday as an intense tropical cyclone bore down on the region, state officials said.

Australia's weather bureau had warned that Tropical Cyclone Hamish could cause substantial damage and flooding, with the storm at its height packing winds of up to 295 kph (177 mph).

Around 3,000 people are being evacuated from Fraser Island, two-thirds of them tourists, a spokesman for Queensland state's emergency services minister told …