Tropical Cyclone Penny is expected to continue tracking toward the coast of central Queensland over the coming hours, with heavy rain and strong winds affecting the area from Tuesday, January 8. The storm is forecast to make landfall on Wednesday, January 9, near Townsville. Penny is forecast to produce sustained winds of 65 km/h (40 mph) until midday (local time) on Wednesday. Rainfall of up to 20 cm (8 in) is forecast in parts of Queensland - particularly areas to the south of its path, including Mackay, Rockhampton, and as far inland as Emerald - through Friday, January 11. As the week progresses, the storm will weaken but continue to produce rain as it moves inland to the west and north. Flooding and associated disruptions are possible in affected areas.
Cyclone Penny passed over the Cape York peninsula on January 1, bringing heavy rain and strong winds to the region, before again strengthening in the Coral Sea. 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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