Cyclone Nelson raises stock shortage fears

By Sarah Falson

KARUMBA, QLD: A Retravision store in Karumba, which is currently under ‘cyclone watch’ due to category two storms off the Gulf of Carpentaria, fears it will have restricted access to stock if surrounding roads flood like anticipated.

Various communities in North Queensland are being battered by destructive winds and flooding rains as the cyclone passes over them, with areas such as Karumba, Pormpuraaw and Palmerville receiving the brunt of the storm.

The Karumba Retravision store, which is so small it incorporates both the local supermarket and café, will remain on a “wait and see basis” for stock resources until the weather clears up, according to store manager, Cilla Teece.

Though the rain and winds have cleared in the town centre, which has a population of 600, Teece told that neighbouring towns, such as Normanton, which is 70 kilometres away, are still experiencing troubling weather conditions.

Cyclone Nelson is expected to cause flooding in parts of north Queensland, between Mackay and Cairns, which are also just starting to recover from monsoonal flooding.

“The situation isn’t extreme at the moment, but there is still a fair bit of wind and rain in nearby towns, meaning we may experience some trouble in the event of a road closure as all our electrical goods and groceries come from Cairns,” she said.

According to reports by the Sydney Morning Herald, the storm is so severe off the coast that ten crew members may be evacuated from a mining company’s transport boat if Cyclone Nelson crosses the coastline at Cape York.

According to Teece, the recent cyclonic weather hasn’t affected customer numbers as locals frequent the store on a need-to basis.

“We don’t really get the fluctuations in business that city stores do, because our population is so small,” she said.

At any rate, Teece told that she isn’t worried about stock damage in the event of a cyclone, as all the electronics in-store are covered by insurance.

In addition, Teece explained that her store hasn’t experienced any staff shortages due to road closures, as all her workers live within a kilometre of the premises.

When asked if the Karumba store has ever experienced stock restrictions because suppliers are loathe to send supplies to cyclone-prone areas, Teece explained that any restrictions are due to the limited floor space available.

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