Cyclone Nora as seen from satellite imagery. Picture: Higgins Storm Chasing
Cyclone Nora as seen from satellite imagery. Picture: Higgins Storm Chasing

Power, sewage cut: Towns devastated by cyclone

TROPICAL Cyclone Nora is continuing to wallop north Queensland with torrential rain and strong winds despite being downgraded to a tropical low late on Sunday.

Forecasters warned the worst was yet to come for some communities as the low pressure system was expected to cause flash flooding overnight and today with heavy rainfall predicted across northern towns including Cairns, Port Douglas and Mossman.

Nora made landfall as a Category-3 storm early on Sunday morning, crossing the coast near Pormpuraaw on the Cape York Peninsula.

The cyclone battered a number of indigenous communities, bringing down trees, tearing off roofs and causing significant damage to energy infrastructure.

An Ergon Energy spokeswoman said while crews and aircraft were ready and waiting to restore power to about 230 homes and businesses in Pormpuraaw, heavy rain and strong winds made it impossible to reach the ­isolated community.

"Restoring critical infrastructure is a priority, including the sewage treatment plant," Ergon spokeswoman Emma Oliveri said.

Trees down at Porpuraaw. Picture: Emergency Services
Trees down at Porpuraaw. Picture: Emergency Services

Nora left a trail of damage in her wake, tracking down Queensland's western coastline before being downgraded to a Category-1 about 1pm and finally a tropical low late last night.

A Kowanyama council spokeswoman said that the already isolated community had suffered significant flooding and wind damage.

"Everyone seems to be OK though and we've made it through and gotten off relatively lightly," she said.

Schools at Pormpuraaw, Kowanyama, Karumba and Burketown are expected to remain closed today as clean-up efforts begin.

Bureau of Meteorology forecaster James Pescott said latest mapping showed the system hovering over north Queensland before moving back out to the coast.

"We've already seen rainfall totals between 150-200m around Cairns and Mossman and we're expecting that (heavy rainfall) to continue and expand south towards Innisfail," he said.

The Bureau has issued flood warnings for much of the state between Cape Tribulation and Townsville.

Queensland Fire and Emergency Services regional operations co-ordinator Brad Stockwell pleaded with people not to become complacent by taking risks in flooded areas.