The weather bureau says Cyclone Tim has intensified into a category 2 system in the Coral Sea, but is still heading away from the Queensland coast.
Tropical Cyclone Tim, which formed this morning, is about 500 kilometres north-east of Cairns.
Forecaster Alicia Duncanson says they are keeping track on its progress off shore.
"The observations from Willis Island have been very interesting today," she said.
"We've been getting down to two or three hundred metres of visibility, so they can't see the end of the island and [there's] some very heavy rainfall coming through there.
"But [it's] expected to track to the north of the island and with the facilities we have there up to a category three cyclone isn't an issue, other than a bit of storm surge into some areas."
Meanwhile, locals on Lord Howe Island, off the New South Wales north coast, are preparing to be hit by .
Island Board chief executive officer Stephen Wills says the worst of the weather is expected tonight and tomorrow morning.
© ABC 2013
07:31 EDT Persistent drought conditions in far west New South Wales are taking their toll on the well being of some graziers in the area.