Tropical Cyclone Penny has formed and is heading toward the Queensland coast.
The Bureau of Meteorology said the category one cyclone formed in the eastern part of the Gulf of Carpentaria by 7am, with wind gusts of up to 100kmh recorded.
It was about 110km west of Weipa and 115km northwest of Aurukun, moving east-southeast at 8kmh.
“Penny is expected to move east towards Cape York Peninsula and cross the coast near Weipa this afternoon as a category one system,” the BoM said.
“The cyclone may reach category two if it moves slower than expected and spends more time over water.”
Residents have been urged to prepare for heavy rainfall, damaging winds and possible flash flooding.
Communities located between Cape York and Pormpuraaw are being asked to ensure their properties are prepared before taking shelter when the system crosses the coast this afternoon.
Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) Far Northern Region Assistant Commissioner John Bolger said it was important for locals to follow the directions of authorities and either shelter in place until the cyclone passed or relocate to a safer place if asked.
“Those who remain in place should shelter in the strongest part of the house and ensure their emergency kit is close by,” Mr Bolger said.
Mr Bolger said the intense rainfall could result in flash flooding of creeks, drains and causeways.
“Under no circumstance should people enter flooded creeks or causeways by road or on foot. If you come across rising floodwaters, turn around and seek an alternative route.
Rivers and creeks are already swollen after heavy rain soaked the region over Christmas, with parts of the far north receiving more than 400mm in the past week.
A 34-year-old woman remains missing in the floodwaters after she disappeared in a fast-flowing creek near Cooktown on Thursday.
The body of a 28-year-old man was found on Monday morning, several kilometres downstream from where he entered a flooded canal close to Cairns city on Saturday.
Flood warnings are in place for the Daintree, Tully, Murray, Herbert, Mulgrave, and Russell rivers.
A flood watch is also current for coastal catchments north of Cardwell, including catchments across the Cape York Peninsula.