A cyclone watch has been issued for parts of Queensland and northern NSW as Oma approaches the coast, with high winds, huge tides and dangerous swells expected.
Oma was a weak category two storm by Thursday morning, sitting about 950 kilometres northeast off Brisbane.
The Bureau of Meteorology has issued a “watch” zone from Bundaberg in Queensland to Ballina in NSW, including Brisbane, the Sunshine Coast and the Gold Coast.
⚠️ A cyclone watch has now been issued for the coast between Bundaberg and Balllina!
Details at https://t.co/57GgmVQe0r.
This doesn’t change the plan from previous days. Beaches will be very dangerous, but heavy rain is only likely on the slim chance Oma crosses the coast. pic.twitter.com/941MT7CfjU
— Tony Auden (@TonyAuden) February 21, 2019
Oma is expected to continue its slow track towards Brisbane, but at this stage the cyclone is expected to remain offshore.
But that doesn’t mean the state will be spared its effects, with warnings issued for high winds and dangerous swell coinciding with king tides along the east coast from Thursday.
Surf lifesavers say the building swell is likely to force the closure of beaches on the Gold and Sunshine coasts.
Bureau of Meteorology senior forecaster Jonty Hall says Oma will maintain its slow 10km/h path towards the coast until Friday.
After that, its behaviour is less predictable.
The worst effects are expected to be gale-force winds, very high swells that could erode beaches, and the possibility of heavy rain.
“We are starting to see the main swell packet from Oma starting to arrive on the south coast of Queensland now,” Mr Hall told ABC radio.
“That’s likely to increase in the next couple of days.”
A severe weather warning is in place for Queensland’s east coast from the town of Seventeen Seventy to the NSW border.
“Dangerous surf conditions are forecast to develop about the east coast of Fraser Island and Wide Bay coast north of Bargara later this afternoon and evening,” the bureau warned.
“These conditions are then expected to extend south over the remaining southeastern Queensland coast during this evening and Friday. Beach erosion is likely to continue with the hazardous marine conditions.”