Cyclone Oma keeps tracking our way


Closer to Fiji and New Caledonia than the Australian mainland, Oma is tracking ominously southwest, with a growing number of predictive models forecasting the cyclone will cross the Queensland coast between Mackay and Fraser Island.

"It's a little bit tricky in that there's a couple of competing factors that makes it quite hard determining exactly where that track will go", she said.

"There's a high pressure system moving in and as Oma slows down a little bit it's strengthening and keeping it just a little bit offshore".

And although Cyclone Oma is not expected to make landfall, the category-two storm is already whipping up the water, closing all Gold Coast beaches and most on the Sunshine Coast in the process.

The worst effects are expected to be gale-force winds, very high swells that could erode beaches, and the possibility of heavy rain.

"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".

They are expected to break high tide records again by about one metre on the morning high tides on Thursday and Friday morning.

"It's looking increasingly likely that it will track close to the southeast Queensland coast, (but) it's hard to say how close it will get at the moment", she said.

Sandbags will be available at 38 Shamrock Road at Darra, 9 Redfern Street at Morningside, 66 Wilston Road at Newmarket, 33 Jennings Street at Zillmere and Herbert Street at Lota. "We've already started to see escarping on some of our most popular beaches because this weather event also combines with a king tide". Beach erosion is likely to continue with the hazardous marine conditions'.

"The bureau has issued a Flood watch from Gladstone to the NSW border".

'We are starting to see the main swell packet from Oma starting to arrive on the south coast of Queensland now, ' Mr Hall told ABC radio.

"The chance of Cyclone Oma hitting is less likely now, however it can't be ruled out", BoM forecaster Kimba Wong said.

Hazardous surf warnings remain in place for Queensland as well as severe weather warning for abnormally high tides for people in parts of Wide Bay, Burnett, Gold Coast, Maroochydore, Moreton Island, Noosa Heads, Caloundra and Rainbow Beach.

Forecasting images showed "the range of likely tracks of the cyclone centre" but this is "uncertainty associated with tropical cyclone forecasting", the Bureau website advises.