Hamish's worst effects offshore

AFTER hurried cyclone preparations over the weekend, Capricorn Coast residents were well-prepared for severe tropical cyclone Hamish yesterday.

Hamish had other plans, downgraded to a category four and staying well out to sea, maintaining a south-east track parallel to the coast.

At 7am on Monday, Hamish was 215 kilometres north-east of Yeppoon and predicted to be downgraded further this afternoon and tomorrow.

Yesterday morning locals gathered to watch the massive 4.5-metre high tide as it rolled in.

All throughout the day, curious onlookers made their way to the coast to witness what they could of Hamish.

Brenton Kneen was one of many who travelled down from Rockhampton to see the cyclonic sights.

Joined by his mates, they headed down to Farnborough Beach first for a surf.

“We just came down to check out the swell,” Brenton said.

“They were big waves, and rough.”

“The swells were too big and there were rips everywhere.”

He said after an hour they moved on for a swim at Yeppoon Main Beach, joining others who braved the stirred-up waters, despite the beach being officially closed.

“It was cool to be amongst it.”

Darlene Robinson from Rockhampton said she drove down with her family to have a look at what effect the cyclone had on the coast.

She said she had made precautions back at home, securing items in her backyard, and was surprised at how calm the afternoon conditions were, considering the cyclone was still off the coast.

“I thought it would be raining,” Darlene said.

And so did many others, according to a spokesman from the Bureau of Meteorology.

While the spokesman said most of the people in our region had missed on the predicted heavy rainfall, he said there had been plenty of rain further south.

“But most of the rain has stayed out at sea,” the spokesman said.

He said the cyclone was continuing along the coast line and had kept its distance from land, expected to die out and become a rain depression.

“It will be interesting to see what its final demise will be.”

A spokesman for Rockhampton Regional Council said no significant damage had been noted in the region. “There has been some erosion at various beach accesses due to the tide fluctuation, which crews are repairing as we speak,” the spokesman said. They said there hadn't even been sufficient rain to disrupt work sites yesterday.

At 5pm yesterday the Bureau of Meteorology website said cyclone Hamish still posed a threat to exposed coastal and island communities between Yeppoon and Hervey Bay, including Heron, Fraser and Lady Elliot islands.

Hamish was expected to maintain the south-east track parallel to the coast during the next 24 hours.

In the 24-to-48-hour period following, the cyclone was expected to become slow-moving and weaken slightly, remaining close to Sandy Cape.

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