Cyclone Oma keeps tracking our way
CYCLONE Oma has been upgraded to a destructive Category 3 system as it continues to bear down on the Queensland coast.
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.
A perfect storm bringing king tides and massive swells could hit the region with its fiercest battering in years.
Modelling from Europe and the US shows the system could hit the Queensland coast by the end of the week, bringing 200km/h winds and up to 500mm of rain to the state's southeast, but meteorologist Kimba Wong said there were still many different scenarios for how the cyclone will develop.
"It's looking increasingly likely that it will track close to the southeast Queensland coast, (but) it's difficult to say how close it will get at the moment," she said.
Weather forecasters typically use dozens of different software programs to track a cyclone's likely path, with some predicting Oma will about-face and turn northeast back out to the Pacific while other predictive models show it veering south to New Zealand.
However, respected models used in the US and Europe now show an increasing likelihood of the cyclone making landfall in Queensland.
Even if it does not cross the mainland, the BOM yesterday upgraded the likelihood of the cyclone impacting the coast to 'high', or greater than 50 per cent.
BOM has issued a hazardous surf warning for the region stretching from 1770 to the Queensland border with the likelihood of a dangerous surf warning to follow in the days ahead.
On the Gold Coast, council crews have begun removing sand dune fencing from vulnerable beaches expected to cop the worst of massive swells expected to roll in.
Gold Coast beaches remained open on Tuesday, but to the north, some beaches on the Sunshine Coast and North Stradbroke Island were closed. Further beach closures are expected, with monster 5m waves predicted, with local big wave surfers salivating at the prospect.
Meanwhile the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) issued a severe weather warning for high tides for people in the Wide Bay, Burnett and south east coast at 11.00pm on Tuesday.
Increasing swell and abnormally high tides are expected south of Sandy Cap from Wednesday morning.
BOM has forecast the high tide could see water levels exceed the highest tide of the year by about half a metre on the morning high tide on Wednesday morning
They are expected to break high tide records again by about one metre on the morning high tides on Thursday and Friday morning.
The tropical cyclone Oma was still about 12000 kilometres northeast of Brisbane at about 10pm.
It is expected to move southwest over the next few days and will generate an increasing east to north easterly swell at Southern Queensland beaches.
Locations which may be affected include Gold Coast, Maroochydore, Moreton Island, Noosa Heads, Caloundra and Rainbow Beach.
Queensland Fire and Emergency Services advises that people should:
* If near the coastline, stay well away from the water's edge.
* Never drive, walk or ride through flood waters. If it's flooded, forget it.
* Keep clear of creeks and storm drains.
* For emergency assistance contact the SES on 132 500.