Tropical Cyclone Sandra is bearing down on Lord Howe Island, causing wind and rain to become intense and waves to become large.
Tonight wind may gust as strong as 150km/h and by tomorrow rain should amount to 40-to-80mm. Wind, waves and rain will all ease significantly during Friday with just a few brief, light showers left by the weekend.
At 10am on Thursday only 12mm of rain had been recorded and wind had only reached 70km/h. Sandra was 405km northeast of Lord Howe Island moving south fairly quickly at 31km/h and intensifying.
Sandra first formed late last week over the Coral Sea, about 1000km northeast of Mackay. She then intensified into a severe category three system while travelling east, further away from mainland Australia. Early this week she turned more southerly, towards Lord Howe Island but had weakened into a category one cyclone.
During this morning Sandra intensified and is likely to continue to do so during the day while closing in on Lord Howe Island.
At this stage the cyclone should travel just to the east of Lord Howe while staying well to the west of Norfolk Island. By tomorrow morning the system should weaken just to the south and by tomorrow evening should weaken into a tropical depression on its way to New Zealand.
New Zealand can expect a burst of heavy rain and strong winds late on the weekend.
While a week-old Sandra is travelling south across the Tasman Sea Tropical Cyclone Tim has just formed in the northern Coral Sea, about 440km northeast of Cairns.
At this stage Tim poses no direct threat to Queensland during the next few days due to its likely east-southeast movement.
© Weatherzone 2013
09:20 EST Queensland Rail says there is significant damage in the state's north after Cyclone Ita, with parts of the east coast network likely to stay closed until at least Sunday.