A tropical low has developed in the Gulf of Carpentaria and is set to deepen over the next few days, with the system a moderate chance of becoming a tropical cyclone from Wednesday.
The low is currently situated about 300 kilometres west of Weipa on the Queensland Cape York Peninsula, and is moving steadily east. The system will cross the northern Peninsula tonight, bringing heavy rainfall and damaging winds and is a moderate risk of becoming a tropical cyclone in the Gulf of Carpentaria from early tomorrow morning.
Queensland's Cape York Peninsula is set to see a drenching over the next 24 hours as the low crosses, with potential for between 200mm and 300mm, particularly in the north of the region. The rainfall should fall in very heavy bursts, with much of this falling in less than half a day. Heavy rainfall has already soaked the Peninsula over the last few days due to the monsoon, with Weipa picking up its heaviest March fall in almost a decade on Monday with 132mm.
Damaging winds are also expected, with winds likely to average 60-70km/h, with gusts to 100km/h near the centre of the low.
During Wednesday the system should move out into the Coral Sea and deepen further. If it is not already a tropical cyclone, there remains a good chance of it becoming one as it moves over very warm waters. This would be the eighth tropical cyclone in Australian waters this season, and the third in the Coral Sea.
Where the system will track remains uncertain, although over the next few days it should move southeast away from the Queensland Coast. It should not pose a threat to the Australian mainland until at least the end of the week, although swells should increase.
© Weatherzone 2013
22:36 EDT The damage bill from a supercell storm that hit south-east Queensland yesterday afternoon with cyclonic winds and softball-sized hail could reach $150 million, Queensland Premier Campbell Newman says.