10 Mar 2009

Cyclone moving slowly along Queensland coast

7:52 am on 10 March 2009

Tropical Cyclone Hamish is maintaining its intensity as it moves slowly south parallel to the coast of central Queensland.

The category four storm is currently about 230km north-east of Bundaberg, moving south-east at 10km per hour.

The Bureau of Meteorology says sea levels are expected to be elevated above the normal tide line and large waves may produce minor flooding along the foreshore.

Authorities say the next 24 hours will be the crucial period to see if Hamish turns back closer to the coast.

Hamish has prevented rescue planes from reaching the last-known location of a fishing trawler missing off the central Queensland coast.

The 18 metre trawler, identified as the MBC, was last heard from on Monday morning.

It was believed to be in the vicinity of Swains Reef, close to the path of the storm.

The Gladstone Ports Corporation says rail services have resumed at both its two coal terminals.

The ABC reports the port is expected to remain closed until a cyclone warning for the area is lifted.

Eighteen ships are waiting at sea, until the port is reopened.