North Qld braces for flood as rain sets in

Northern Queensland residents are on alert for flash flooding as monsoonal rain sets in over a vast region.

The Bureau of Meteorology issued a severe weather warning with flash flooding possible for the state's coast between Cooktown to Mackay and the northern and central interior.

Torrential downpours are set to lash the region from Friday afternoon and into next week.

Flash flooding has hit areas north of Mackay after falls of more than 200mm in multiple places during the 24 hours to 9am on Friday.

The inland towns of Julia Creek, Hughenden and Richmond are on alert for a deluge with a major flood warning in place for the Georgina River in the state's far west.

Rivers and creeks in at least 17 catchments already soaked by recent rain are at risk of breaking their banks.

The bureau said a severe weather warning for heavy rainfall was current for parts of northern Queensland amid likely flash and riverine flooding.

"Moderate to major flood warnings are current for a number of river systems through northern Australia and further warnings are possible in the coming days," it said.

Police posted pictures of flooding in Mackay's northern beaches and Eton areas on Friday morning and issued a warning to people across the state's north about the "extraordinary weather" over the next several days.

They urged people not to be complacent, to stay up to date with rainfall forecast maps and to avoid floodwaters.

"Trying to navigate these hazards, either in vehicles or on foot, can be treacherous, as water levels rise and fall quickly, and very often with little or no warning," police said in a statement.

"Emergency services are struggling to comprehend why some motorists ignore the notice signs and warnings that are erected on flooded roads."

The bureau has also warned that a tropical low could develop near the northeast coast over the weekend or early next week.