A LOW in the Coral Sea may develop into a tropical cyclone (TC) as it moves southwest towards the Queensland coast.
The tropical low lies over the central Coral Sea. It is expected to shift towards the southwest during Wednesday and Thursday, possibly intensifying into a tropical cyclone before crossing the east Queensland coast between St Lawrence and Double Island Point early Friday.
The weather pattern will result in significant impacts over east Queensland districts south of about St Lawrence, regardless of whether or not the low transitions to a tropical cyclone.
A separate severe weather warning is current for areas south of Double Island Point and west to the Great Dividing Range.
Gales are expected to develop about coastal and island communities between St Lawrence and Double Island Point during Thursday evening.
Heavy rainfall will develop about coastal and island communities between St Lawrence and Double Island Point during Thursday, particularly over areas to the south of the system. A flood watch is current for the area.
Abnormally high tides will be experienced as the system approaches the coast. Water levels are expected to rise above the highest tide of the year at the high tide on Thursday.
Dangerous surf is expected to develop about exposed beaches south of Sandy Cape from early Thursday.
Residents between St Lawrence and Double Island Point should consider what action they will need to take if the cyclone threat increases.
On Friday the tropical system will be close to the coast, or even over land, producing areas of heavy rain from Gladstone down to to Coffs Harbour in NSW as it moves south.
The south-east coast district should have its wettest day on Friday, with widespread rain of 80-150 millimetres and the risk of much heavier isolated totals leading to flooding.
From Saturday there is significant model uncertainty, but early indications show the system will start to move away from the eastern seaboard, allowing hotter and drier air to take the place of the soaking wet airmass.
TC Lam predicted to turn southwest
Meanwhile, TC Lam is expected to produce gales across the Gove Peninsula as it approaches the northeast Top End.
Now a Category 2 TC, with sustained winds near the centre of 110 kilometres per hour and wind gusts to 155 kilometres per hour, it is expected to continue intensifying as it moves towards the west, parallel to the coast, before turning towards the southwest overnight.
The Territory Controller advises residents around from Elcho Island to Cape Shield, including Nhulunbuy, that public shelters are now open.
Private Sector businesses and organisations still open at this time are strongly advised to consider securing and closing their premises.
- with Rob Sharpe, Weatherzone.
For further TC updates go to the Bureau of Meteorology website or call 1300 659 212.
For cyclone preparedness and safety advice, visit Queensland's Disaster Management Services website.
For emergency assistance call the Queensland Fire and Emergency Service (QFES) on 132 500 (for assistance with storm damage, rising flood water, fallen trees on buildings or roof damage).