News State QLD News New year could start with a cyclone for Queensland

New year could start with a cyclone for Queensland

Cyclone Owen
Steve Irving loads sandbags in Cairns earlier this month when Cyclone Owen dumped heavy rain in the region. Photo: AAP
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Queensland looks likely to be hit by its first cyclone of 2019, as a monsoon trough to the north of Australia continues to head south.

If the unstable trough develops a tropical low over water a cyclone watch could begin for the Cape York Peninsula as early as Saturday morning, the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) says.

“It’s all about to ramp again with the monsoon trough coming down over the peninsula and tropical lows developing over the next couple of days,” meteorologist Gordon Banks said on Friday.

“We should see that low developing through the weekend and … there is the potential for it to develop into a tropical cyclone as early as late Sunday or early Monday morning.”

It comes as parts of far north Queensland endured their wettest December on record following a week of heavy rain on the tropical north coast and peninsula districts.

“There has been considerable weather up on the north tropical coast and into the peninsula district over the last few days with some very heavy rainfall and some moderate to major flooding,” Mr Banks said.

Cardwell and Ingham have had their wettest Decembers on record with 1031mm and 967mm respectively.

Cairns and Cooktown have recorded their wettest December since 1975, while at Innisfail it’s the wettest December since 1950.

“They were getting fires in rainforests, that’s how dry it was. It’s the opposite end of the spectrum now, the waterfalls are all flowing,” Mr Banks said.

Flood warnings remain in place for the Daintree River and Mossman Rivers, and a flood watch has been issued for areas north of Cardwell, including catchments in the Cape York Peninsula.

Mr Banks said the region could be again inundated with rain if the tropical low develops as the bureau expects it to.