Tropical cyclone may hit Queensland coast this week, Bureau of Meteorology says

A Coral Sea storm could today become powerful enough to be declared a cyclone, the Bureau of Meteorology has warned, bringing with it heavy rains and a potential storm surge as it crosses the Queensland coast.

While current forecasts have the storm on track to cross the coast just south of Townsville, it could impact anywhere along a 750-kilometre stretch between Cairns and Mackay, likely around the middle of the week.  

The bureau said the system could develop into a category one cyclone by 10pm and reach category three strength by Wednesday morning.

Senior meteorologist Steve Hadley said the storm had been developing slowly and, while some forecasts suggested the storm would remain offshore, a coastal crossing was most likely. 

“It is looking less likely now that the tropical cyclone will not make landfall,” he said. 

He said the storm could track as far south as the Queensland/New South Wales border once it made landfall.

“Some of the longer-term predictions even have that moving south of the Queensland border into New South Wales, or even back out to sea again,” Mr Hadley said. 

“So we’re still left yet to develop a really clear picture of where this tropical cyclone is going to go beyond the middle of this week.”

YouTube The bureau on Sunday released a severe weather update.

Mr Hadley said there was the potential for heavy rainfall well south of the system, and a risk of a storm surge as it approached the coastline. 

“In the coastal areas of Queensland there will be high seas, rough swells and even around that crossing zone, potentially a storm surge as well around the crossing time of the cyclone,” Mr Hadley said.  

“These are all things to be aware of in coming days.” 

The weather bureau issued the first map of the forecast cyclone track on Sunday.(Supplied: Bureau of Meteorology)

The cyclone warning comes more than a month after ex-Tropical Cyclone Jasper crossed the Queensland Coast near Wujal Wujal, which resulted in devastating flooding throughout the region

There’s ‘no need to panic’

Townsville City Council Mayor Jenny Hill said many residents were beginning to prepare for the potential cyclone. 

“We just want people to prepare. There’s no need to panic. It’s well off to sea at the moment,” she said. 

“We don’t need you to get excited; we don’t need you to panic. We just need you to prepare.” 

Mayor Jenny Hill says Townsville residents need to be alert, not alarmed. (ABC News: Lily Nothling)

She said residents had been clearing their homes of green waste materials that could pose a danger in strong winds. 

“What we try to do here is we don’t alarm people. We just want to make people alert to their responsibility,” Cr Hill said.

She said education about the dangers of severe weather was an ongoing process across Queensland.

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