BRISBANE — Tropical cyclone Hamish is continuing to weaken off the central Queensland coast, but damaging winds associated with the storm cell have hampered the rescue effort for three trawlermen missing in waters off Rockhampton.
Bureau of Meteorology Cyclone Warning Centre forecaster Andrea Peace said Hamish could be downgraded from a category four cyclone to a category three this morning, as fierce winds continue to tear apart the super cell.
“At this stage it looks as though by tomorrow it could be as low as a category two,” Ms Peace said.
She said the cyclone could change direction and head towards the Queensland coast at Hervey Bay, as the weather system is dragged west by lower atmospheric winds.
Converging winds from the upper and lower atmospheres have continued tear apart the cyclone, Ms Peace said.
“At this stage, three days out, we’re not expecting it to cross the coast.”
Damaging winds associated with Hamish, currently battering the northern part of Fraser Island, are not expected to die down over the next 48 hours.
However, the cyclone warning for other offshore islands south of Yeppoon, including Heron Island and Lady Elliot island, has been downgraded to cyclone watch.
Cyclone Hamish located 290 kilometres east of Gladstone and 140 kilometres northeast of Sandy Cape has continued to impede efforts to reach a trawler crew who activated an emergency beacon yesterday morning.
Authorities hope to finally be able to reach the crew today with a Defence Force Hercules.
Large waves generated by the cyclone may produce a storm surge and minor flooding along the foreshore south of Sandy Cape.