A cyclone watch for Queensland’s southern coast has been cancelled but category one Oma is still making its presence felt as it sits offshore.
Forecasters say the weather system will continue to bring high winds and dangerous surf conditions to parts of the Queensland and northern NSW coast in coming days.
Early on Friday, Oma was about 700km east, northeast of Brisbane, slowly moving south and is expected to re-intensify to a category two storm later in the day, before making a u-turn on Saturday and heading north again.
“Although the centre of Oma is going to stay a fair way off the coast, it is still going to be quite windy,” Bureau of Meteorology senior forecaster Jonty Hall has told ABC radio.
“There is still the potential for some damaging wind gusts in the order of 90, 100km/h.”
Dangerous winds, surf and abnormally high tides will continue into the weekend from about Fraser Island down to the NSW border.
The same conditions are expected as far south as Yamba in northern NSW.
The bureau issued an update at 12pm that Oma may intensify later on Friday.
#CycloneOma has weakened overnight to cat 1 strength & expected to move to the south-southwest during the next 24-36 hrs. Oma may intensity later today to cat 2—expected remain well off the southeast Qld coast. Several warnings are in place:https://t.co/75atzvknLZ #TCOma pic.twitter.com/FrH1OPnWkI
— Bureau of Meteorology, Australia (@BOM_au) February 21, 2019
All Gold Coast beaches and most Sunshine Coast beaches are already closed, with widespread NSW beach closures also expected.
Residents should expect to see erosion for exposed beaches, and bureau NSW state manager Ann Farrell said Thursday that abnormally high tides could inundate some areas.
"Don’t really need a sign today…"
This was high tide at Inskip Point earlier today 🤯
— ABC Brisbane (@abcbrisbane) February 21, 2019
“The beaches are going to be particularly unsafe over the coming weekend even as far down as Coffs Harbour,” she said.
Surf Life Saving NSW duty operations officer Andrew Ugarte said Friday and Saturday could include wave swells of three to four metres.
“An incoming tide on Saturday morning will be treacherous, especially for fishers and boats crossing river bars,” he said in a statement.
The morning high tides could exceed the highest tide of the year by about one metre.
All Gold Coast beaches are now closed, along with the majority of Sunshine Coast beaches. All beaches from Fraser Island down to the Qld border are likely to be closed by day’s end. Surf conditions will be powerful – please stay out of the water. #CycloneOma pic.twitter.com/Qf9RMKtHAP
— Surf Life Saving QLD (@lifesavingqld) February 21, 2019
Residents are warned to keep their distance from beaches and waterways.
Oma is expected to continue moving southwesterly towards the Queensland coast on Friday.
See the BOM warnings page for the latest.
In an emergency, call the Emergency Service (SES) on 132 500.