Wild winds and dangerous surf will batter the Queensland coastline after Tropical Cyclone Linda formed in the Coral Sea, although it’s not expected to make landfall.
The low-pressure system intensified into a category one system on Tuesday afternoon and four-metre waves are expected to lash the coast from Wednesday.
The cyclone was located about 880kms north-east of Sandy Cape on Fraser Island and predicted to move south-west towards the coast over the next 24 hours.
Forecasters say it will weaken back into an intense tropical low by Thursday morning before it tracks south-east out to sea.
Winds near the eye of the cyclone are expected to reach 65km/h, with wind gusts of up to 95km/h.
A severe weather warning remains in place for coastal areas in Wide Bay, Burnett and the southeast, stretching down to the NSW border.
The Bureau of Meteorology has also warned of higher than normal tides, particularly on Thursday morning.
While high tides could cause inundation in low-lying areas prone to flooding, BoM forecaster Lauren Pattie indicated heavy rainfall was unlikely because the system would remain “well offshore”.
The development of the cyclone comes after three weeks of devastating weather in other parts of the state.
Emergency Services Minister Craig Crawford is in the flood-ravaged north, and says major roads have been severely damaged.
He said it would take weeks to determine the final repair bill but it could amount to tens of millions of dollars.
There are concerns too that flood waters could spread the devastating soil disease Panama TR4 to banana farms throughout the Tully Valley after an outbreak was detected last month.
Mr Crawford said the wild weather had taken a toll on communities, including Yam Island in the Torres Strait, north and far north Queensland, and swathes of the state’s western interior.
“It’s quite evident – just the sheer size of this weather system and the storms and floods that have occurred,” he told reporters in Innisfail.
After meeting with anxious Tully banana growers, and visiting devastated Ingham, he’ll head west to Mount Isa on Wednesday to talk to mayors still dealing with inland flooding.
“We’ve still got towns and communities cut off,” Mr Crawford said.
“There’s barely a few parts of Queensland that haven’t been touched by storm activity in the last two to three weeks.”
The Bruce Highway north and south of Ingham reopened on Monday, but lower speed limits are in force on some damaged stretches.
In the far north, engineers are investigating a large crack that has opened up on the Palmerston Highway.
There have also been landslips on that highway, as well as Gillies Range Rd and the Kennedy Highway.
Burke Developmental Rd, north of Normanton, is still underwater and is expected to be closed for some time.