| 21.02,19. 02:58 PM |
Cyclone Oma to bring gale-force winds but may not cross Queensland coast, BOM says
Photo: Photographers on the Gold Coast where surf conditions are forecast to get dangerous in coming days. (AAP: Dave Hunt)
A cyclone watch has been issued for a large stretch of the east coast from Bundaberg in Queensland to Ballina in New South Wales.
Tropical Cyclone Oma is currently just under 900 kilometres north-east of Brisbane and is moving towards the city.
However, the category-two system is no longer expected to make landfall.
Instead the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) forecasts the system will slow on Saturday before moving north, parallel to the Queensland coast.
"Although Oma is not expected to make landfall in the coming days it will be close enough to produce direct impacts along the Queensland and New South Wales coast," BOM said.
BOM said the system is likely to bring heavy rain, gale force winds, dangerous surf and abnormally high tides across the watch area.
But BOM forecaster Michael Knepp said while south-east Queensland may not get the direct impact of the system, winds could start picking up.
"We are still going to see the impacts of the system, especially in regards to the winds," he said.
"We're going to see gale-force winds developing tomorrow, and not only gale-force winds but conditions along the beach are going to be quite dangerous."
BOM is expecting winds of up to 90 kilometres per hour in the watch zone with potentially stronger gusts on top of that.
A severe weather warning is in place for abnormally high tides and dangerous surf from the town of 1770 to Coolangatta.
BOM said the dangerous surf conditions would likely affect Fraser Island and the coast north of Bargara from this afternoon and evening and the remaining south-east Queensland coast and northern New South Wales overnight into Friday.
High tides could exceed the highest tide of the year by a metre on the morning high tides for the next few days.
All Gold Coast beaches and a number of Sunshine Coast beaches have now been closed.
Yesterday shark nets were removed and boaties were being urged to seek safe harbour.
NASA's Rob Gutro said the space agency's Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) revealed Oma has a large eye surrounded by powerful thunderstorms.
He said the US Navy's Joint Typhoon Warning Centre had noted that the "system is struggling to intensify due to the large size of the eye".
"The VIIRS image also showed a long band of thunderstorms wrapping into Oma's low level centre from the southern quadrant, giving the impression of a long tail."