Fears Tropical Cyclone Jasper could wash crocodiles into the streets of Cairns, Queensland

As Cyclone Jasper thrashes Australia's Queensland, Cairns' locals preparing for wild winds and sea surges are being warned of a much more sinister threat.

There are fears the area's notorious saltwater crocodiles could be washed into city streets by the expected wild weather.  

Wind speeds are expected to reach up to 140km/h and a month's worth of rain is due to fall in just six hours, with the storm expected to make landfall late on Wednesday.  

More than 8000 homes have already lost power in north Queensland and "shelter in place" orders are in effect across the state.   

While crocodiles are a common sighting in rural areas around Cairns, local tourism operator Richard Berman-Hardman from Cairns Skyrail Rainforest Cableway told Channel 10 this storm could bring them into urban areas.  

Cairns is crisscrossed by a drainage system built to withstand heavy weather that should help ease the cyclone's impact, but it could give rogue crocs a place to hide.   

"I guess you've seen snakes on a plane, let's just hope there's no crocs on the cableway by the end of tomorrow," Berman-Harman said.  

Previous storms have brought crocodiles out of their homes in coastal creeks and authorities were forced to issue warnings during 2018's Cyclone Owen when they began to appear on the streets of Far North Queensland.   

"There are a lot of crocodiles that are being sighted at the moment so be careful on the roads and please don't go near the crocodiles," then-Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk told residents at the time.  

Australia's Emergency Management Minister Murray Watt today said, "The Albanese Government is working closely with Queensland to ensure Queenslanders get the support they need".  

The latest updates from the Bureau of Meteorology on Wednesday at 4:00 pm said:

  • The cyclone remains a Category One system, with wind gusts of up to 120km/h.
  • It is currently located 125km north-northeast of Cairns and 105km east southeast of Cooktown, moving westward at 13km/h and producing damaging wind gusts along the coast.
  • Jasper may intensify to a Category Two cyclone before crossing the coast, causing "destructive" wind gusts late Wednesday.
  • It’s expected to weaken overnight as it moves inland.