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Tropical Cyclone Iris looms off QLD coast

Ben Domensino, Tuesday April 3, 2018 - 11:24 EST

Tropical Cyclone Iris is expected to cause severe weather along parts of Queensland's east coast this week.

Iris was first named as a tropical cyclone by the Fiji Meteorological Service almost two weeks ago, when the system was over the eastern Coral Sea.

Since then, Iris has spent most of its time meandering across the Coral Sea below cyclone intensity, without having much of an impact on Australia.

On Easter Monday, the system moved into a more favourable environment off the North Tropical Coast of Queensland and re-intensified into a category one tropical cyclone.

Even though Iris became a tropical cyclone in Australian waters yesterday, it retained the name assigned to it by the Fiji Met Service to avoid confusion.

Iris gained further strength overnight and was identified as a category two tropical cyclone this morning by the Bureau of Meteorology, who is now responsible for providing updates on the system.

At 11am today, Iris was about 335km northeast of Townsville, with wind gusts estimated to be reaching 130km/h near its core.

The system is expected to move towards the southeast during the next two days, roughly parallel to Queensland's coastline.

While this path should prevent Iris from making landfall in the near future, the strengthening cyclone could pass close enough to cause severe weather on Queensland's central coast from today.

A cyclone warning was issued this morning for the coast and adjacent inland areas between Ayr and Sarina, including Mackay and the Whitsundays, while a cyclone watch extended south to St Lawrence.

Damaging gale force winds are possible in the warning zone from tonight and may extend further south through the watch area from Wednesday. Destructive winds are possible along the coastal fringe between Bowen and Mackay on Wednesday.

A flood watch has also been issued for coastal catchment between Rollingstone and St Lawrence, where flash and riverine flooding is possible from as early as today.

The future movement of Iris during the second half of this week is less certain, so be sure to keep up to date with the latest forecast cyclone tracks at: http://www.bom.gov.au/cyclone

- Weatherzone

© Weatherzone 2018

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