Cyclone whips up wild weather for Coast
A TROPICAL cyclone in the east Coral Sea is expected to move southwest towards Australia for the next 24 to 36 hours.
The Bureau of Meteorology said Cyclone Hola formed overnight near Vanuatu as a Category Two system.
The cyclone was being tracked by the Fiji Meteorological Bureau which was expecting it to intensify over the next 48 hours, touching Category 5 strength before easing to Category 4 and 3 as it passes south of Noumea.
The BOM does not expect it to move inside 160 degrees east of the Queensland coast before veering away to the south towards New Zealand.
There is less than a five per cent chance of the system moving close to the Queensland coast.
The system, combined with already strong southeasterly winds, would whip up a heavy swell which would be chaotic on the Sunshine Coast's open beaches but should deliver quality surf in the two-metre range to the region's protected point breaks this weekend and into next week.
Another weak low was located in the northwest Coral Sea, northeast of Cooktown, was expected to remain weak in the Coral Sea, before moving west into the Gulf of Carpentaria on Friday or Saturday.
BOM forecaster Jim Richardson said there was a 20-50 per cent chance of the system developing into a cyclone on Saturday with conditions becoming more favourable for its development.
He said winds would pick up into this evening, reaching gusts of 33km/h.
A strong wind warning remained in place for coastal waters off the Sunshine Coast with Mr Richardson expecting a further increase on Friday with at least two days of stormy weather ahead.
Over the coming two to three days winds on the Sunshine Coast would pick up into the evening with gusts to 40km/h and stronger.
Overnight into Thursday winds at Sunshine Coast Airport gusted to 61km/h after reaching 65km/h the previous evening.
The Sunshine Coast will reach only a 25C maximum temperature today with showers throughout, partly cloudy conditions and winds from the southeast gusting between 20-30km/h.
Winds will be strong tomorrow, reaching 35km/h over land but with rain easing despite the again partly cloudy conditions.
The weekend forecast was for partly-cloudy conditions with winds from the south, southeast on Saturday at 25-35km/h easing to 15-25km/h on Sunday.
It will be relatively warmer Saturday with the maximum reaching 27C before falling back again to 26C on Sunday by when the winds should have eased to 15-25km/h from the south.