A Tropical Cyclone is set to develop in the Coral Sea during this weekend and move towards the northern Queensland coast, bringing the risk of gales, very heavy rainfall and large seas.
The deepening system at 10am EST was located approximately 550 kilometres east-northeast of Cairns. It is expected to gradually move west-southwest today, before taking a south-southwesterly track from Saturday, and should develop into a Category 1 Tropical Cyclone on Sunday.
If the system develops, it will be called Gillian, and will be the seventh cyclone in the Australian region this season.
Rain will increase markedly from late on Saturday and into Sunday and Monday between Cooktown and Mackay, bringing a significant risk of flooding. The area may see 300-400mm from the system, which could be the heaviest rain in more than two decades for some places.
While winds will gradually increase on Saturday, they will become strongest from Sunday when they could reach gale force on the coast and islands between Cairns and Mackay.
While the Great Barrier Reef will protect many places, seas should increase close to four metres in some places on Saturday, and exceed four metres on Sunday.
The system is currently expected to approach the coast between Townsville and Mackay on Sunday, and possibly make landfall on Monday.
© Weatherzone 2014
00:30 EDT Locals on the Cocos Islands have spent Christmas Day hunkered down in their homes, as Tropical Cyclone Kate passed just north of the tiny community more than 2,000 kilometres off the West Australian coast.