Wild weather hits up north as tropical low heads to coast

DAMAGING winds of up to 100km/h have been forecast for Gladstone as a potential cyclone makes its way towards the North Queensland coast.

The Bureau of Meteorology has again issued a warning for the Gladstone region predicting higher than normal tides and damaging winds.

Water levels on the high tide are expected to exceed the highest tide of the year over the next couple of days.

Bureau duty observer Damien Ousley told the ABC low lying areas should make preparations.

"We'll probably see the highest tide of the year between St Lawrence and Gladstone over the next couple of days," he said.

"Between Cardwell and St Lawrence there may be some heavy rainfall and damaging wind gusts."

He said heavy rainfall was forecast for Yeppoon, Clermont, Emerald and Moranbah.

Livingstone Local Disaster Management Group chairman Bill Ludwig said weather conditions for the Livingstone Shire included 30 to 35 knot winds, three to four metre seas and king tides.

"It is expected the Capricorn Coast will continue to experience some fairly severe weather, and with the combination of strong winds, rain and five metre plus tides there is the potential for minor inundation of in some lower lying areas," he said.

>> Queensland facing fewer but more intense cyclones

The weather system, which was located about 280km north-east of Townsville at 7am on Thursday, is forecast to form into a cyclone before it makes landfall on Friday morning.

It's moving south-west at about 16km/h, and is expected to move in a general south-west direction before crossing the Queensland coast between Lucinda and Proserpine.

It is still not clear if the system will develop into a category one cyclone, but there is a cyclone warning current for every town and city between Cardwell, north of Townsville, and St Lawrence, south of Mackay.

''We're still going to get very, very strong winds, certainly flooding rains and on the coast damaging wave action,'' Queensland Fire and Emergency Services Commissioner Lee Johnson said.

>> Rolling coverage: Rain, wind and possible flooding forecast

Large areas in the north are expected to see daily rainfall totals of 100-200mm between Wednesday and Friday, with some local falls of up to 400mm possible.

There are flash flood warnings for all coastal rivers between Port Douglas and St Lawrence, and residents in Townsville have been warned of tidal flooding.

The Central Capras are on standby to host a rugby league trial game in Rockhampton if a cyclone prevents it being played in Mackay.

The Capras are due to play the Mackay Cutters on Saturday night.

And a trial game between CQFC Energy and the Mackay Crusaders this weekend has been cancelled, with the Energy now set to play Frenchville at CQUniversity in Rockhampton.

Mackay is already experiencing wild weather with wind gusts and rain. Some flights have been cancelled in and out of Mackay and Proserpine airports.

Along the waterfront, tides peaked at 6.46m in Mackay on Thursday morning.

Photo by Steve Dew - River Street.
Photo by Steve Dew - River Street.