UPDATE: Cyclone watch cancelled, dangerous surf remains
A CYCLONE Watch for Oma was cancelled overnight with the intense storm now expected to stay well offshore through the weekend.
Oma has weakened to a Category One system but was expected to re-intensify.
It is currently located 720km northeast of Brisbane and was travelling south, south-west at 13km/h.
Oma would re-intensify to Category Two through today and continue moving in a generally south to south-westerly into early Saturday.
Its motion was then expected to shift slowly to the north during Saturday, remaining offshore through the weekend and early next week.
The BOM said abnormally high tides and dangerous surf conditions would continue along the southern Queensland coast over the next few days and into early next week.
Several waves in excess of 7.5m were recorded overnight at the Mooloolaba wave buoy which was located to sea off Yaroomba.
The significant wave height had also climbed past three metres while the period remained around 11 seconds.
Last night a gust of 89kmh was recorded at Double Island Point.
"Seas and swell are already increasing well ahead of the approach of Oma with dangerous surf about the east coast extending from far northern New South Wales northwards to Seventeen Seventy, just north of Bundaberg," the BOM said in a statement.
" Beach erosion is likely to continue with the hazardous marine conditions."
EARLIER Thursday 6pm:
THE Gympie region is officially on flood and cyclone watch as tropical cyclone Oma continues to move towards the southeast Queensland coast.
The Bureau of Meteorology has not ruled out a coastal crossing, although various models have lined up since Tuesday, showing the category 2 cyclone's most likely path will remain offshore before moving north or northwest tomorrow.
How much of a battering the Gympie region will get is still undetermined, but yesterday's forecast predicted the heaviest Queensland rainfalls could drop on the Cooloola, Fraser and Sunshine Coasts.
Up to 100mm could hit the region's coast each day tomorrow and Sunday but heavier, isolated rain could fall in the region, Bureau of Meteorology forecaster Kimba Wong said.
"We could see locally heavier falls in excess of 300mm in a day,” Ms Wong said.
"But it is looking like the heavier falls will be more coastally confined.”
Mammoth tides and dangerous surf are already affecting the Cooloola Coast, with Rainbow Beach closed yesterday as a large swell ate into most of the shoreline of the deserted beach.
Tin Can Bay was also impacted dramatically by the king tide.
Inskip Point was yesterday inundated with water around its fringes, causing campers to pack up their tents and move to safer ground.
Redcliffe resident Izabela Lorenc was yesterday cutting her camping holiday at Inskip short but said it was better to be "safe than sorry.”
"This campsite was quite full before and now it's empty. The waves have increased dramatically from Wednesday night and that's the reason I am leaving to Hervey Bay.
"I'm not scared of the cyclone, I say bring it on. Once it passes I might come back for another week.”
Camping areas in the region officially remained open, but QPWS officers had contacted all camping and vehicle permit holders about the approaching harsh weather.
Even experienced swimmers and keen surfers are warned to stay out of the water as beach conditions are expected to worsen today and into the weekend.
Gale-force winds will likely lash the coast with waves at Rainbow Beach forecast to reach 8m today, with the swell 4-5m.
Yesterday hundreds of sandbags had already been issued to Cooloola Coast residents, Gympie SES deputy local controller Steve Clough said.
Gympie Regional Council urged residents to be prepared for the onset of potentially dangerous weather and floods as the Gympie Local Disaster Management Group is on alert and monitoring the cyclone's progress.
While it is unusual for a cyclone to track this far south, it is not unprecedented. Each tropical cyclone is unique and it is difficult to make historical comparisons, the Bureau said.
Cyclone Nancy (1990) was the last cyclone to directly impact Brisbane. It did not make landfall but grazed the coast near Byron Bay before moving offshore. The main impacts were coastal erosion and flooding for Gold Coast beaches and the adjacent Hinterland.
See warnings for the latest track maps and updated warnings bom.gov.au/qld/warnings.