February 27, 2007 11:00am
A cyclone forming off Queensland is threatening to cause some serious damage between the Whitsundays and Fraser Island.
The cyclone is expected to form overnight before developing into a severe system, the Bureau of Meteorology says. A low pressure system was today 650km northeast of Mackay and was expected to form into tropical cyclone Odette overnight, forecaster Peter Otto said.
He said it was then expected to form into a severe cyclone – category three or above – by the weekend.
"Track prediction is always difficult with cyclones but at this stage it's expected to head towards the Whitsunday coast then head down south to the Fraser coast eventually, so it could cause quite a few problems as it does so," he said.
"It should be a big system too, compared to other events we've had recently."
Earlier this month Cyclone Nelson – the first cyclone of the season – crossed north Queensland's Gulf of Carpentaria coast but caused little damage before dissipating.
Strong winds, big swells and flooding of low-lying coastal areas is expected and residents are being told to prepare.