Tropical Cyclone Seth forms off Qld coast

Wind and hazardous surf warnings have been issued for southeast Queensland for the new year after a tropical cyclone formed off Mackay in the state's north.

Tropical Cyclone Seth has strengthened to a category two system with wind gusts exceeding 110km/h.

The storm was first spotted in the Coral Sea, 495km northeast of Mackay on Friday afternoon.

It is not expected to threaten the Queensland coast over the weekend.

However, the Bureau of Meteorology has issued warnings with big swells, strong winds and showers set to hit the state's southeast early in the new year.

Hazardous surf conditions are expected from Fraser Island down to the NSW border from the weekend to early next week.

Surf Life Saving Queensland says people should avoid walking, rock fishing and swimming in surf-exposed areas in that region, with waves of up to four metres expected.

There are also strong wind warnings along the Queensland coast from Townsville to the Gold Coast on Friday.

It looks set to be a gusty New Year's Day, with the BOM issuing strong wind warnings from the coast off Mackay down to Sunshine Coast Waters for Saturday.

Tropical Cyclone Seth is expected to move away from the coast before heading south on Sunday when it may develop further.

It formed off the Queensland coast on Friday, having delivered a wet Christmas for Darwin as a monsoon low moving along the top of the Northern Territory.

"North Queensland shouldn't be concerned with this," BOM senior meteorologist Steve Hadley told AAP.

"Tropical Cyclone Seth is expected to move away from the coast, it could take a southerly turn perhaps on Sunday.

"It will be hanging around off the southern coast for the next few days.

"Beyond that, it is highly uncertain what is going to happen with it."

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