Tropical Cyclone Penny reversed its course and crossed over the Cape York peninsula in northeast Australia on Tuesday, January 1, bringing heavy rain and strong winds to the region. According to media reports, the Port of Weipa - closed since Sunday, December 30 - is expected to remain closed until Thursday, January 3. Heavy rain and flooding, along with associated transportation disruptions, is possible in Weipa and across the region.
Penny brought sustained winds of 65 km/h (40 mph) and gusts up to 100 km/h (60 mph). The storm is expected to move into the Coral Sea where it will strengthen to a Category 3 tropical cyclone, or the equivalent of a Category 1 hurricane, with sustained winds of 120 km/h (75 mph). It is then forecast to move southwest toward Rockhampton and Gladstone, arriving on the coast around Monday, January 7.
Australia typically experiences tropical storms and cyclones from November through April.
Individuals in the affected areas are advised to monitor local weather reports, adhere to instructions issued by local authorities, anticipate strong winds, heavy rain, flooding, and associated disruptions (e.g. road closures, port and airport closures). Remember that walking or driving through moving water can be dangerous - 15 cm (6 in) of running water is enough to knock over an adult - and that floodwater can contain wastewater and chemical products; all items having come into contact with floodwater should be disinfected and all foodstuffs discarded.
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