The weather bureau says a low pressure system in the Coral Sea is likely to become a cyclone in the next 24 hours.
It is expected to slowly move east and not immediately pose a direct threat to the Queensland coast.
The said at 4pm (AEST) the system was located about 1,000 kilometres east of Cairns and travelling east northeast at 13kph.
Senior forecaster Geoff Doueal says the system does not have the traits of previous damaging cyclones.
"There's no clear indication of where this system will end up yet, it's such a slow-moving system unlike Yasi and Larry," he said.
"Yasi and Larry were straight in towards the coast, fairly easy to forecast - this system is actually in a light stream.
"Yasi and Larry were both in a strong stream and it was very clear that it was going to hit the Queensland coast."
Mr Doueal says the bureau will monitor the system for the next four or five days.
© ABC 2013
20:55 EST Landholders are reporting hundreds of millimetres of rainfall across the coastal strip in northern New South Wales.