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12/28/2007

Australian coast set for weekend of big weather

Australia
Image:
Brian Harvey surveys a storm brewing over the highway between Dubbo and Wellington in central NSW. Picture: Amos Aikman

Residents along the Queensland coast are bracing for a fierce and volatile weather system this weekend with the bureau warning of gale-force winds, dangerous surf and abnormally high tides. The Bureau of Meteorology has advised coastal communities from Bowen in north Queensland to the Gold Coast to prepare for the intense low-pressure system. Severe thunderstorms hit NSW yesterday afternoon, with heavy rains and flash flooding in the Hunter and Central Tablelands, Illawarra and western parts of Sydney. Three people were rescued yesterday after they abandoned their 10m yacht in heavy seas north of Fraser Island. Huge waves whipped up by the system will coincide with king tides and are likely to cause the biggest tides this year. The bureau is also closely watching a low-pressure system in the Gulf of Carpentaria that has the potential to develop into a cyclone early next week. Meanwhile, South Australian fire fighters are on standby over the coming days with the bureau forecasting extreme heatwave conditions throughout the state.
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