Cyclone watch issued for Queensland and NSW as storm cell nears

Cristina Cross
February 22, 2019

Oma is now 550 miles (890 km) north-east of Brisbane, bringing with it 80 mph (130kmh) wind gusts.

Forecasters said it's less likely that Cyclone Oma will cross the Queensland coast, but people are still being warned to expect high winds and unsafe swell.

Some beaches will be closed as risky winds, surf and abnormally high tides continue into the weekend from about Fraser Island down to the NSW border.

Surf Life Saving Queensland at 8.30am announced that all Gold Coast beaches were closed as a result of the combination of big swell generated by Oma and unusually high tides, and most beaches between the Sunshine Coast and Fraser Island are also closed.

"Two and a half, three days ago a lot of our computer models were suggesting that it was going to get quite close to the coast or even cross the coast, which would have been a pretty bad scenario for us in southern Queensland, but we have steadily moved away from that".

"Although Oma is not expected to make landfall in the coming days it will be close enough to produce direct impacts along the Queensland and NSW coast", the bureau has warned.

Water levels on the morning high tide are expected to exceed the highest tide of the year by approximately one metre over the next few days.

"Gale force winds are possible for exposed coastal beaches, combined with heavy rainfall".

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People between Bundaberg and the QLD-NSW border are being advised to consider what action they will need to take if the cyclone threat increases.

Hazardous surf warnings remain in place for Queensland as well as severe weather warning for abnormally high tides for people in parts of Wide Bay, Burnett, Gold Coast, Maroochydore, Moreton Island, Noosa Heads, Caloundra and Rainbow Beach.

The weather system is already bringing hazardous surf conditions and abnormally high tides. The Bureau has issued a flood watch from Gladstone to the New South Wales border.

"Forecast certainly is shaping up to see the most likely scenario that Cyclone Oma will approach the cost this weekend, and a coastal crossing can not be ruled out at this stage", Gunn added.

He said for Nelson to get rain, it needed a strong northerly.

He said a slow-moving high pressure system located over the Great Australian Bight will pass over Tasmania and move into the Tasman Sea next week.

Ms Pattie said depending on how strongly the ridge developed, it could determine the cyclone's impact.

Tropical Cyclone Oma is now Category 1.

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