2 Feb 2009

Queensland storm weakens

8:40 pm on 2 February 2009

Tropical cyclone Ellie has crossed the Queensland coast and weakened into a rain depression.

The weather bureau warns that heavy rainfall and flash flooding are now expected to hit parts of north Queensland.

The category one cyclone crossed the coast at Mission Beach, between Cairns and Townsville, about midnight on Sunday.

The weather bureau said the ex-tropical cyclone was expected to be slow-moving and remain over land on Monday while weakening further.

Forecaster Tony Auden from the Bureau of Meteorology's Tropical Cyclone Warning Centre told the ABC that while wind gusts of up to 100km/h are still expected, the storm is fairly weak.

He said the main threat from a category one system is rainfall.

The bureau has issued a severe weather warning for coastal and inland areas between Cardwell and Bowen, warning of heavy rain and possible flash flooding.

There has been six weeks of flooding in North Queensland, affecting more than 30 shires. The damages bill is estimated to be about $A60 million.