Cyclone Kirrily

Thursday 25 January 2024

While most Australian states swelter in extreme heat conditions, North Queensland is awaiting a potential cyclone, expected to bear down on Townsville this evening. 

We are seeing temperature and rainfall records being broken more frequently as the earth warms. A warmer atmosphere holds more moisture, so as our climate warms we can expect it to become wetter too. This trend is also apparent in the BOM’s weather modelling and long-term forecasts. 

Heatwaves and extreme weather events will become more intense on a warming planet. 

Queensland Member of Doctors for the Environment, (DEA) Dr Nicole Sleeman says people with young babies and elderly residents should move to an evacuation centre for peace of mind, if the order is given. 

“It is important to protect your health during these weather events. If advised to do so, moving to an evacuation shelter will provide support and offer combined resilience among other local community members and neighbours.” Dr Sleeman said cyclones can have various effects on people’s health, from:

  • Injury or death during the cyclone
  • Damage to infrastructure, leading to insecure access to water, food, shelter and power failures
  • Lack of access to medication and/or healthcare
  • Floodwaters, which can be contaminated or hide submerged hazards
  • Mental health impacts e.g. anxiety, PTSD
  • Injury from displaced animals (e.g. spiders, snakes) 

In the event an evacuation is recommended by local authorities, listen for advice on ABC local radio and follow their instructions so that you and your pets will be cared for. 

Dr Sleeman said don’t forget to pack your everyday medication and pet food if pets are travelling with you.

Updates on the cyclone can be obtained from BOM or from ABC radio broadcasts. 

For more information or interview opportunities please contact Dr Nicole Sleeman on 0401 097 876, after 3pm AEST or Tuesday - available all day for interviews.