Cyclone Oma tracks towards Queensland

James Marshall
February 21, 2019

The Bureau of Meteorology said latest tracking showed the best estimate of the cyclone's future movement and intensity.

Authorities are warning people not to panic but prepare, with the cyclone expected to bring wild weather, 130km/h winds and 500mm of rain in just 24 hours.

Considerable uncertainty remained about where it may make landfall.

Meteorologist Adam Blazak said TC Oma had increased king tides on the Gold Coast by 15 centimetres and Sunshine Coast tidal heights by 10-15 centimetres.

Heavy falls are expected to pelt much of New Zealand over the weekend but Nelson's dry lands and hills recovering from the Pigeon Valley blaze can expect only a few showers.

The system unwinds next week and high pressure returns.

A severe weather warning is in place for abnormally high tides and risky surf from the town of 1770 to Coolangatta.

On Tuesday, a driver was caught out taking on the big swell at Rainbow Beach, north of the Sunshine Coast, and was forced to abandon a ute, leaving it at the mercy of the pounding waves.

Bureau of Meteorology senior forecaster Jonty Hall says Oma will maintain its slow 10km/h path towards the coast until Friday.

"A crossing is not certain yet, and there are scenarios where it may linger off the coast", he told AAP.

The swell period also shifted out to 13 seconds, a number that indicated the swell's power and which would increase through the day.

The BOM has warned abnormally high tides, risky surf and strengthening winds were expected along the southern Queensland coast ahead of Oma.

"These conditions are then expected to extend south over the remaining south-eastern Queensland coast during this evening and Friday".

"Beach erosion is likely to continue with the hazardous marine conditions".

A flood watch has been issued for coastal catchments and inland areas between Gladstone and the NSW border, with major flooding possible during the weekend and early next week.

While it is unusual for a cyclone to track this far south, it is not unprecedented. In 1990, Cyclone Nancy directly impacted Brisbane, but didn't make landfall.

On the Gold and Sunshine coasts shark nets have been removed and boaties are being urged to seek safe harbour.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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