WARNING: Dangerous surf ahead of potential cyclone
HUGE seas and gale-force winds are likely to hit the Cooloola Coast today and tomorrow as a tropical low bears down on the Queensland coast.
The swirling weather system, which is currently over the eastern Coral Sea 1200km north of Rainbow Beach and has the potential to form into a tropical cyclone, is expected to strengthen into Wednesday and Thursday morning as it moves south.
Last night Higgins Storm Chasing said the developing tropical low had a high chance of intensifying into a Tropical Cyclone during today, and likely to remain at a category one or two, with an expectation of it nearing the South East Queensland coast tomorrow and into Thursday.
Bureau of Meteorology forecaster Dean Narramore said this morning it is now unlikely to cross the Queensland coast, but the low would bring waves of up to four metres crashing on the Gympie region's coastline amid big seas and large swells.
The BoM is warning of dangerous surf and dangerous, gale force winds as the low adopts a south-westerly track today, bringing it closer to south-east Queensland overnight and into tomorrow.
"The low is most likely to curve to the south during Wednesday, keeping it off the southern Queensland coast," the BoM reported this morning.
"Gale force winds over the southern flank of the low are expected to produce large east to south easterly swells along exposed parts of the southern Queensland coast from Wednesday."
Mr Narramore said the highest high tide, referred to as the Highest Astronomical Tide, will occur tomorrow morning, likely to produce the biggest high tide of the year.
"Although water levels on the high tide early Wednesday morning may approach or slightly exceed the highest tide of the year along the open beaches, significant inundation of low lying areas is not expected," the BoM reported.
Mr Narramore said the weather will be very coastally-focused, with Gympie likely to receive windy and showery conditions tomorrow and into Thursday.
Rain is likely to be isolated and could affect the coast, he said.
Surf Life Saving Queensland advise that:
- People should consider staying out of the water and avoid walking near surf-exposed areas.
- Rock fishers should avoid coastal rock platforms exposed to the ocean and seek a safe location that is sheltered from the surf.
- Boaters planning to cross shallow water and ocean bars should consider changing or delaying their voyage.
- Boaters already on the water should carry the appropriate safety equipment and wear a lifejacket.
- Boaters should remember to log on with their local radio base and consider their safety management plan.