Brisbane. Tropical cyclone Rewa changed direction and was heading slowly
out to sea last night after leaving a trail of deaths and devastation along the
But the weather bureau warned that Queensland might face another cyclone
within 24 hours as a tropical depression develops near Vanuatu.
Three people died in car crashes in Rewa's stormy weather, five people were
plucked from cyclonic seas in boating mishaps and a teenage boy drowned after
being sucked into a drain while ``surfing" Brisbane floodwaters on Wednesday.
Cyclone-driven torrential rain in south-east Queensland eased yesterday as
Brisbane residents mopped up after Wednesday night's flash floods, which
submerged cars and damaged about 100 houses.
An army helicopter yesterday rescued two men from a fishing trawler drifting
in huge seas off the Central Queensland coast, near Swains Reef.
Three other young men escaped after their boat was swamped and sunk in
Brisbane's Moreton Bay on Wednesday night. They clung to a navigational beacon
for more than 12 hours before being rescued by water police.
The regional director of the Queensland Bureau of Meteorology, Mr Rex Falls,
said it was unlikely that the cyclone would cross the coast.
His main concern was for the islands off the state's central coast, which
were experiencing gales and six-metre seas.
The only cyclone warning still in place yesterday afternoon was for the
Bunker group of islands, off Bundaberg.
A senior meteorologist, Mr David Alexander, said there was a moderate chance
that a tropical depression developing near Vanuatu could become a cyclone within
24 hours. ``It's in Fiji's area at the moment, but we are keeping an eye on
it," he said.
Mr Falls said Rewa would probably skirt Fraser Island as it moved south, but
he said the northern tip of the island would experience gales.
Late yesterday, the cyclone was 150 kilometres north-east of Bundaberg and
moving south-east at 15kmh. Destructive winds extended 80 kilometres from its
centre and it had gusts of up to 140kmh.
Rewa was expected to be about 180kilometres east of Brisbane by 9am tomorrow,
the bureau said.
Heron Island was buffeted by gusts of up to 130kmh on Wednesday night, but
received only minor tree damage. The eye of the cyclone also passed within 25
kilometres of Lady Elliot Island, which experienced storm-force winds.
Wind warnings were present for coastal shipping from Yeppoon, north of
Rockhampton, to Yamba in northern New South Wales.