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Storm tide evacuation maps

Council's Storm Tide Evacuation Maps have been produced for the information of residents of the Cairns region for the purposes of personal disaster planning in terms of level of risk and threat assessment from storm tide inundation.

This mapping product should not be used for development assessment and/or insurance eligibility determination. The Storm Tide Evacuation Mapping is different to Council's flood hazard assessment which identifies risks associated with flooding due to a prolonged rainfall event, which could be in conjunction with a storm tide. The flood hazard assessment is incorporated into Council's local planning scheme, the 'Cairns Plan', to ensure development within the region has immunity to a defined flood event. For residents who wonder why they are in a storm tide high risk zone, but can't recall any flooding in their neighbourhood, the guide explains the difference between flooding and storm tide.

Users of the information displayed in this disaster management mapping service, should review the maps to ascertain the applicability of the information in relation to their individual risk exposure and any official evacuation advice. Storm tides will be accompanied by gale force winds, with successive waves of seawater rapidly moving across the foreshore. Trees, building material and other debris may be carried along by the storm tide. An evacuation must occur prior to the storm tide event.Inundation from storm tide is not comparable to riverine flooding. For detailed river or urban drainage flooding information for a particular property, residents can obtain flood zone information about their property by requesting and paying for a land record search.

Figure 1: Normal high tide

Figure 2: Storm Tide
(Storm surge + normal tide = storm tide)

Zone risk clarification

Australian Height Datum (AHD) is the term used to describe the reference level for defining ground levels in Australia. The level of 0.0m AHD is approximately sea level.

This zone is most vulnerable to coastal inundation from Storm Tide with areas located 2m or below the AHD level.

This zone is susceptible to coastal inundation from Storm Tide with areas located between 2m and 3m AHD.

This zone is exposed to coastal inundation from Storm Tide with areas located between 3 and 4.5m AHD.

Am I in a Storm Tide Evacuation Zone? 

These storm tide surge evacuation maps show areas that may be at risk of storm tide flooding associated with a cyclone.

To find out if you are in one of the three risk zones:

  • Look in your meter box for a red, orange or yellow sticker;
  • Check the maps below; or
  • Search your address.

If you ARE in a coloured zone:

  • Your property may be at risk of storm surge flooding during a cyclone.
  • Prepare to evacuate if emergency services issue an evacuation order for your zone.
  • Take the most direct route as shown in the storm tide surge evacuation maps below.

If your property is NOT in a coloured zone, you are outside the predicted storm tide risk zone and do NOT need to evacuate.  Stay home, follow your emergency plan and make your cyclone preparations.

Authorities will advise of evacuations by zones, NOT streets or suburbs. Be prepared, know your evacuation zone.

For disaster management purposes residents on elevated sites within the zones receive official evacuation information as they may be isolated for an unknown period of time within a severely impacted area.

Types of evacuation advice 

Voluntary evacuation advice

  • The voluntary evacuation notice will be issued by Cairns Local Disaster Management Group if there is a threat developing. This lets people know they are in a potential danger area and gives them ample time to make a considered decision about whether to leave.
  • An example would be when a cyclone is still some way off the coast and is tracking towards a coastal community at a speed and intensity that would create a storm tide at that location. Because the cyclone is still distant there is the possibility it may change direction or intensity, removing the risk of a storm tide.
  • The voluntary evacuation notice will be distributed electronically and broadcast on radio and television in conjunction with any warnings.
  • Don't forget to take your emergency kit when you evacuate.

Directed evacuation advice

  • The decision to order a directed evacuation during an event lies with the Disaster District Coordinator (Chief Superintendent of the Cairns District) when there is a definitive threat to life.
  • All people subject to the directed evacuation must follow given directions. The Disaster District Coordinator has the power to enforce the notice. This power may be delegated to authorised officers in the field who will conduct the evacuation.
  • Do not ignore this advice - the decision to issue an evacuation notice is not taken lightly.
  • Don't forget to take your emergency kit when you evacuate.

Storm tide evacuation maps

Cairns CBD

Cairns CBD Barron River to Trinity Inlet

Evacuation maps and routes for people living in a RED, ORANGE or YELLOW zone in the suburbs of: Aeroglen, Barron, Freshwater, Edge Hill, Whitfield, Redlynch, Brinsmead, Kamerunga, Stratford, Parramatta Park, Kanimbla, Cairns North, Manunda, Manoora, Cairns City, Mooroobool, Bungalow, Portsmith, Woree, White Rock, Mount Sheridan, Bentley Park, Edmonton, East Trinty, Glen Boughton, Wrights Creek, Earlville, Bayview Heights.

Northern Beaches

Cairns Northern Beaches

Evacuation maps and routes for people living in a RED, ORANGE or YELLOW zone in the suburbs of: Ellis Beach, Palm Cove, Macalister Range, Clifton Beach, Kewarra Beach, Trinity Beach, Trinity Park, Smithfield, Yorkeys Knob, Holloways Beach, Caravonica, Machans Beach, Barron, Freshwater, Stratford, Aeroglen, Barron Gorge, Kamerunga.

Far Northern Region

Far Northern Region

Evacuation maps and routes for people living in a RED, ORANGE or YELLOW zone in the areas of: Rocky Point, Miallo, Newell, Cooya Beach, Bonnie Doon, Mossman, Finlayvale, Mossman Gorge, Killaloe, Port Douglas, Cassowary, Craiglie, Mowbray, Diwan, Noah, Forest Creek, Daintree, Kimberley, Lower Daintree, Whyambeel, Wonga, Bamboo, Stewart Creek Valley, Upper Daintree, Miallo, Cape Tribulation, Thornton Beach, Diwan, Cow Bay, Kimberley.

Southern Region

Trinity Inlet to Bramston Beach

Evacuation maps and routes for people living in a RED, ORANGE or YELLOW zone in the areas of: Aloomba, Fishery Falls, Deeral, Bellenden Ker, East Russell, Wooroonooran, Babinda, Mirriwinni, Bramston Beach, Eubenangee.