Massive 2000km storm to drench east coast as QLD faces cyclone threat

·Environment Editor
·3-min read

A tropical cyclone could impact Far North Queensland this weekend as a monsoon trough builds north of Australia.

That’s the most likely scenario, according to Weatherzone, whose modelling suggests the weather pattern could collide with Cape York on Sunday evening.

Their forecast indicates communities north of Cooktown, including Coen, will likely face the most significant impact.

A weather map showing predicted rainfall over Far North Queensland based on modelling over seven days to Wednesday.
Modelling shows heavy rain could impact Cape York over seven days. Source: Weatherzone

As the weather system heads west, the Indigenous communities of Aurukun and Pormpuraaw could also be affected.

Further south, heavy rain and storms may impact communities situated between Cairns and Innisfail, while the Atherton Tablelands can expect some flooding and gusty winds.

What will the impacts of the weather system be?

When the storm hits, damaging wind gusts and rainfall in excess of 300mm could slam parts of Cape York, Weatherzone’s senior meteorologist Brett Dutschke forecasts.

While a cyclone is yet to be confirmed, Mr Dutschke has a warning for people living in the region.

“It's worth emphasising that you don't need a cyclone to cause significant damage, particularly flooding,” he said.

“Monsoon alone and tropical lows are certainly enough to bring massive flooding and also damaging wind.

“If it's a tropical cyclone then the intensity is typically greater than just the regular tropical low."

A stock image of palm trees blowing on an overcast day.
Modelling suggests severe weather could impact parts of Queensland this weekend. Source: Getty Images, file

What's causing the cyclone?

Driving the instability is the Madden-Julian oscillation, a "pulse" of cloud and rain based near the equator which is moving into an active phase.

Unstable conditions will likely to build over the next 24 hours and intensify in the following days as the monsoon becomes increasingly active.

Weatherzone believes the most likely scenario will involve a low forming south of Papua New Guinea, then heading west across Cape York to the Gulf of Carpentaria.

A less likely scenario could see the tropical low remaining weak, staying offshore and not having a direct impact on mainland Australia.

2000km storm front battering eastern Australia

A seperate low pressure trough is currently impacting much of eastern Australia.

The system is currently estimated to stretch for 850km, but it will likely expand to 2000km Friday afternoon or early evening.

While the storm has been near stationary for a number of days, it has gradually built up moisture and it has been fed north-easterly winds off the Tasman Sea.

The system is now slowly heading east, generating widespread severe storms and heavy rain across Tasmania, Victoria, Queensland and NSW.

Widespread rainfall is expected on Friday and conditions will ease overnight before building again on Saturday as the weather warms.

On the whole, fewer lightning strikes are expected on Saturday, with the storm expected to be most active around central NSW.

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