Days of wild weather are predicted to buffet the Queensland coast through to the Darling Downs and the south-east this week as a low sits off the coast.
The Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) is monitoring the weather system in the northern Coral Sea.
There is a severe weather warning for damaging winds, heavy rain, abnormally high tides and dangerous surf for coastal areas south from the Capricornia.
At 3:30pm (AEST) on Tuesday the system was about 1,000 kilometres east-north-east of Cairns.
The BoM said it had a moderate chance of developing into a tropical cyclone by Wednesday as it moved east away from the Queensland coast.
The system is expected to produce strong winds and drenching rain along the coast as it begins to move south, and could cross the coast in the Capricornia or Wide Bay on Friday.
Potentially flooding rains of more than 200 millimetres are expected in the south-east, with the Gold and Sunshine Coast hinterlands likely to get even more.
Senior forecaster Rick Threlfall said abnormally high tides and large waves were also predicted to hit the coast.
“It’s the system in the Coral Sea at the moment that will bring our wet weather towards the end of the week,” he said.
“Some very wet weather to come and we’re likely to see the risk of flash flooding and obviously creeks will be rising on Thursday and Friday.
“Dangerous surf conditions developing on the beaches and with the high tides that we’ve got on Thursday and Friday as well, the chance of some beach erosion on the coast.
“We’re looking at three to four-metre waves developing and there’ll be a lot of energy in those waves as well.”
Mr Threlfall said severe conditions could start on Thursday and continue until Saturday.
“It is likely we’ll see a severe weather warning issued in the next couple of days or so for that weather developing towards the end of the week,” he said.
Brisbane City Council has four sandbagging machines working at depots across the city.
Meanwhile, the BoM has cancelled a cyclone watch for communities on western Cape York and the Torres Strait.
Tropical Cyclone Lam is currently a category two system and a cyclone warning is in place for parts of the Northern Territory and is predicted to keep moving west.
Mr Threlfall said Cyclone Lam would not have much impact on Queensland.
“It looks like the weather from that will be more in the Northern Territory,” he said.
Higher king tides, possible flooding predicted along coast
The Cairns Regional Council is warning this week’s king tides are likely to be higher than forecast.
Local disaster coordinator Ian Fell said the tide peaked more than 20 centimetres above its predicted level on Monday.
“We believe this will carry through for the rest of the week, so projections of 3.4 metres on Thursday are more likely now to be 3.62 metres,” he said.
“That’s a significant tide for us in relation to low-lying inundation, so residents can expect some closed roads.”
In central Queensland, emergency authorities are urging residents to be vigilant for the possibility of severe weather over the coming days.
Gladstone disaster management coordinator Mark Holmes said people should pay close attention to the forecasts, especially in flood-prone areas around Baffle Creek and the Boyne Valley.
“Stock up on your medicine, your food and water,” he said.
“Knowing whether you get cut off for one day or seven days in the heavy rain events, making sure you’ve got appropriate supplies on hand.
“Even those in the city areas, making sure you’ve got stuff tidied up, that loose items are secure, particularly if we start getting warnings later in the week and we find the potential cyclone is heading our way.”
Drought-affected areas to miss out
But weather bureau forecaster Brian James said Tropical Cyclone Lam was unlikely to bring rain to drought-affected inland Queensland.
“It has intensified overnight and the potential is for it to intensify further and probably move to the south-west,” he said.
“Most of the rain probably won’t affect inland Queensland as a result, it will be mostly over the interior of the Northern Territory and Western Australia it seems.”
Meanwhile residents in the Gulf of Carpentaria are hoping for some decent rain from Cyclone Lam.
Carpentaria Shire Mayor Fred Pascoe said it had been a very dry February.
“Obviously we are watching it with a lot of interest, it will be a Godsend if it gives us a bit of rain,” he said.
“We haven’t had rain here for a couple of weeks now.”
Burke Shire Mayor Ernie Camp also said it had been one of the driest February’s he had experienced and the entire area needed a good soaking.
“It has been extremely patchy, some areas had considerable rainfall up to the new year, but since Christmas there has been very little rainfall and the weather has been so hot and dry and even the humidity has been very low so it has dried things out considerably,” he said.
The Weipa Town Authority (WTA) said it was well prepared for any potential impacts from Cyclone Lam.
WTA chairman Ian McNamara said the local disaster management group was meeting every day.
“What’s concerning us is it’s the highest tide this Wednesday and Thursday for the year, and with a storm surge we could get some water inundation,” he said.
“We’re hoping not, there’s nothing at all at present, but we’ve just got to start to prepare ourselves.”
Topics: rainfall, storm-event, phenomena, emergency-planning, brisbane-4000, maroochydore-4558, southport-4215, toowoomba-4350, cairns-4870, gladstone-4680, bundaberg-4670, mackay-4740, rockhampton-4700, townsville-4810, weipa-4874
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