Cyclone Oma tracks towards Queensland


"Gale-force winds are expected to develop along exposed coastal areas of southern Queensland during Friday, well ahead of Oma, and may extend into coastal parts of northern NSW on Saturday".

The Bureau has issued a flood watch from Gladstone to the New South Wales border.

Oma was a weak category two storm early on Thursday, sitting about 950km northeast off Brisbane and is moving slowly towards the coast at around 10km/h.

However, respected models used in the United States and Europe now show an increasing likelihood of the cyclone making landfall in Queensland.

Forecasters said it's less likely that Cyclone Oma will cross the Queensland coast, but people are still being warned to expect high winds and unsafe swell.

On Thursday afternoon, the category-two system was already whipping up risky surf conditions, closing all Gold Coast beaches and most on the Sunshine Coast, but was not expected to make landfall.

But that doesn't mean the state will be spared its effects, with warnings issued for high winds and unsafe swell coinciding with king tides along the east coast from Thursday.

Today, more effects will be felt, with winds increasing to 45km/h and a powerful long-period swell hitting the coast. King tides and gale-force winds will contribute to unsafe conditions for rock fishers, surfers and swimmers.

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The heaviest rain is expected to fall on the eastern parts of both islands on Sunday.

Cyclone Oma could cross the southeast Queensland coast on the weekend, bringing damaging winds and heavy rainfall to the region.

But Oma could slow on Saturday and change course to a more north or northwest direction.

"We're going to see gale-force winds developing tomorrow, and not only gale-force winds but conditions along the beach are going to be quite unsafe".

Overnight, forecasters were divided over what happens when Oma gets closer to the southeast Queensland coast, showing 20 different possible paths it could take. A king tide is forecast for the Auckland area that's set to start on Thursday morning. Power was cut for thousands of homes in New Caledonia, and some roads were flooded.

The Gold Coast Council has activated sandbagging to help locals prepare for the worst, as Cyclone Oma nears the coast.

Much like the damage expected for Queensland, coastal erosion was the main result in Vanuatu.