Storms to lure more stingers to Cairns beaches
THIS week's wet weather could be a double blow for beachgoers, with the rain expected to lure more marine stingers to local swimming spots.
After months of below average numbers, the increased rainfall and expected northerly winds could draw more stingers closer to shore, North Queensland lifeguard supervisor Jay March said yesterday.
"We would remind people to be mindful of stingers, it is peak season and we do usually see an increase in these conditions," Mr March said.
"If people are going for a swim we would recommend they stay within the nets and cover themselves up."
Beaches were closed yesterday while lifeguards searched for evidence of irukandjis after a young girl complained of being stung at Palm Cove on Monday afternoon.
Mr March said the girl was treated by lifeguards at the beach and did not go to hospital.
The beaches opened in the afternoon but Mr March said there was still a high stinger risk.
It had been a quite start to stinger season, with box jellyfish, which comew closer to shore when it rains to feed on smaller prawns, staying further ashore and irukandji stings being reported on the outer reef.
That may change if conditions continue as expected.
Officials expect north-westerly and north-easterly winds of up to 30 knots off the coast today with further rainfall coming from a monsoonal trough.
James Cook University jellyfish expert Jamie Seymour will be watching with interest to see how the weather affects stinger numbers.
"In the past we have noticed an increase with the northerlies, so we will be watching out for that," he said.
"It all depends on this weather."
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On patrol: Emma Smith at Palm Cove yesterday. Picture: ROMY BULLERJAHN