Cyclone Oma tracks towards Queensland

24 February, 2019, 04:20 | Author: Amos Gonzales
  • The swell was picking up at Alexandra Headland and The Bluff on the Sunshine Coast

Cyclone and flood watches for Queensland's southern coast have been cancelled but category one Oma will still cause abnormally high tides, risky surf and damaging winds.

Wide Bay Volunteer Marine Rescue's Bill Ker said conditions are likely to be particularly unsafe for small and recreational watercraft.

Rough conditions are expected to peak on Friday evening and into Saturday, also prompting the closure of island ferry services.

"These hazardous conditions are expected to continue to build over the coming days with powerful northeasterly swell expected to batter the coastal areas across the weekend".

There are more than a dozen possible paths the system could take, with Brisbane and the Gold Coast potentially right in the firing line.

"The beaches will get beaten up and there will be rain and flooding, particularly south of Bundaberg", BoM forecaster Adam Blazak told the publication.

A flood watch is now in place for coastal communities between Gladstone and the NSW border.

Bureau of Meteorology forecaster Michael Gray said Warwick might still see a little bit of rain at the weekend, with the best chance being on Sunday.

It is unusual, but not unprecedented, for cyclones to track as far south as Oma could eventually go.

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The longer it stays offshore, the greater the potential damage to beaches as waves of up to six metres pound the shoreline.

"A severe weather watch is now in place for Friday and Saturday for upper parts of the North Island, as warm tropical air is expected to bring rain with potentially heavy falls to Northland and north Auckland", says meteorologist Rob Kerr. "You don't really want a crossing", he said.

"That combination is leading to some unsafe surf conditions and higher than normal tides".

"Two and a half, three days ago a lot of our computer models were suggesting that it was going to get quite close to the coast or even cross the coast, which would have been a pretty bad scenario for us in southern Queensland, but we have steadily moved away from that".

As Oma makes its way south-west, it enters the "Australian area of responsibility", according to Bureau meteorologist Jonathan How.

Latest satellite loop of weakening Tropical Cyclone Oma.

Authorities are warning people not to panic but prepare because the system is expected to bring gale force winds and heavy rainfall.

Forecasting images showed "the range of likely tracks of the cyclone centre" but this is "uncertainty associated with tropical cyclone forecasting", the Bureau website advises.

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