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Aussie towns to be worst hit by cyclone

TC Jasper intensified to a Category 3 system on Wednesday night, and is expected to reach Category 4 late on Thursday. Picture: BOM
TC Jasper is expected to reach category 4 late on Thursday. Picture: Bureau of Meteorology

A tropical cyclone, moving towards Australia from the Coral Sea is expected to intensify to a category 4 system in coming hours.

TC Jasper, as it’s been designated, intensified to a category 3 storm on Wednesday afternoon.

The latest mapping data from the Bureau of Meteorology forecasts Jasper strengthening further to a category 4 late on Thursday as it makes its approach towards the North Queensland coast.

The Bureau of Meteorology's tracking data forecasts TC Jasper to weaken from a Categorey 3 system as it nears the Australian coast in coming days. Picture: BOM
The Bureau of Meteorology's tracking data forecasts TC Jasper to weaken from a category 3 system as it nears the Australian coast in coming days. Picture: Bureau of Meteorology

However, the bureau also predicts the system to weaken back to a category 2 by the time it begins to make landfall around Cairns some time next week.

As at 10am AEST on Thursday, Jasper was recorded as having sustained winds near the centre of 140km/h with wind gusts to 195km/h.

Its exact speed of movement wasn’t provided, aside from it being described as “slow moving”.

TC Jasper intensified to a Category 3 system on Wednesday night, and is expected to reach Category 4 late on Thursday. Picture: BOM
TC Jasper intensified to a category 3 system on Wednesday afternoon and is expected to reach category 4 late on Thursday. Picture: BOM

“Over the weekend, Jasper is likely to weaken and turn to move more to the west towards the Queensland coast,” the bureau’s latest report reads.

“While the timing and severity of a coastal impact remains highly uncertain, the highest risk of a cyclone impact lies between Cooktown and Mackay, including Cairns and Townsville.

“Communities in the region north of Mackay are advised to review their cyclone plan.”

The system may even reach category 5 on Friday, the highest cyclone strength designation.

Meteorologists have described Jasper as unusual, forming early for a year affected by El Nino weather events.

The next update is due at 5pm AEST on Thursday.