Yeppoon lifeguard John Hamrey closed the Main Beach yesterday after a tsunami warning was issued for the Capricorn Coast beaches.
Yeppoon lifeguard John Hamrey closed the Main Beach yesterday after a tsunami warning was issued for the Capricorn Coast beaches. Chris Ison

Tsunami warning closes beaches

BEACHES were closed, events cancelled and emergency services out in force yesterday as the Capricorn Coast was put on high alert of a tsunami threat.

Yeppoon lifesaver John Hamrey said the potential threat made for dangerous swimming conditions as strong ocean currents developed combined with a high tide.

He closed Yeppoon’s Main Beach at 8am, while State Emergency Service volunteers patrolled beaches from Emu Park to Farnborough urging people to leave the water.

And although the tsunami barely made a wave on the coast, it certainly drew many onlookers to the shoreline, despite authorities warning to stay away.

Cresta Clarke took her three sons to the shore yesterday just to have a look.

“The boys were anxious to get out of the house and watch the tsunami,” she said.

“Although it doesn’t seem like much today, my dad rang me last night panicking telling me to leave my house and head for Gracemere.”

A tsunami warning was issued by the Joint Australian Tsunami Warning Centre yesterday morning for the Queensland coast after an 8.8 magnitude earthquake struck off the central coast of Chile at 4.30pm on Saturday.

Sydney felt minor effects about 8.45am while Yeppoon was expected to feel affects about 11.30am.

But by 3pm Mr Hamrey said they hadn’t been any reported change in sea levels, and the tsunami threat was officially lifted by authorities.

The warning centre reported the Gold Coast had experienced a sea level rise of 0.2m.

Mr Hamrey, the Yeppoon Surf Lifesaving Club president, said the beach was monitored all day after they were warned of possible dangerous waves, strong ocean currents and foreshore flooding of the marine environment.

He said the tide at 10am was 4.04m high on the main beach.

The Four Point Carnival at Emu Park was cancelled yesterday as were junior nippers and the Frenchville marathon.

Boats in harbours, estuaries or shallow coastal water were urged to return to shore. Police issued warning to residents not to go to the coast to watch the tsunami.

The beach remained closed until 3.30pm.

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