Storm surge strips beach and may flood Noosa's iconic street
STORM surge may enter Noosa's iconic Hastings Street on tomorrow morning's high tide after Main Beach was stripped of sand today exposing the rock wall that stands between the sea and some of Australia's most expensive real estate.
If it does happen it would be the first time since Cyclone Dinah in 1967 pushed water into the street to knee-level.
A growing swell pushed up by Cyclone Oma would bring more pressure to bear on all Sunshine Coast beaches in the coming days with the Bureau of Meteorology warning water levels could be elevated a metre above the highest tides.
Noosa Council would use today's low tide to strip sand pumping pipes and outlets from the beach to prevent damage.
Mayor Tony Wellington and Disaster Coordinator Carl Billingham said they were planning for all contingencies.
Minor flooding has already occurred in Hilton and Gympie Terrace as the high tide forced water back up through storm water outlets.
University of the Sunshine Coast senior lecturer in Physical Geography, Dr Javier Leon was mapping Main Beach and witnessed half the sand disappear and hour before high tide.
He said by high tide erosion had exposed the sea wall.
"From what I saw this morning it's not far out to say we'll see water in Hastings Street," Dr Leon said.
It's not only Noosa's Main Beach that would feel the brunt of the Oma growing swell.
Dr Leon said he expected major erosion along the Sunshine Coast with beaches stripped down to rock very quickly over the next few days.
"Saturday and Sunday will be bad for all out beaches," he said,
Constant easterly swell over the past two weeks, Dr Leon said, had already caused minor to moderate erosion to a number of beaches from Fraser Island to the Gold Coast.
"When I was mapping this morning the rate of erosion was amazing. I could see it eroding as the tide filled.
"Everyone should know this won't be the last event like this. It is good to know what we are facing and we will face more often in the future.
Mr Billingham said sand-pumping infrastructure removed today would be returned when conditions stabilised to enable the beach to be replenished with sand.
Cr Welllington said sand had been pumped onto the beach at the end of the last holiday break.
He said there may be some impacts on Hastings Street on the high tides with all council's resources mobilised to respond to any situation.
Swell height readings at the Mooloolaba wave buoy off Yaroomba continued to rise throughout today and would continue to do so.
The Bureau of Meteorology has warned beach erosion is likely to continue due to a combination of the increasing surf and abnormally high tides.
Water levels on the morning high tide Friday were likely to exceed the highest tide of the year by around one metre about beach front areas exposed to wave action.