Source: Bureau of Meteorology

Issued at 7:58 am EST on Wednesday 24 January 2024

Tropical cyclone impacts likely to begin for coastal and island communities overnight Wednesday and Thursday morning.

Areas Affected:
Warning Zone
Ayr to Sarina, including Mackay, Bowen and the Whitsunday Islands.

Watch Zone
Innisfail to Ayr, including Townsville and extending inland to Charters Towers.

Cancelled Zone
Sarina to St Lawrence and Innisfail to Cairns .

Details of Tropical Low at 7:00 am AEST:
Intensity: Tropical Low, sustained winds near the centre of 75 kilometres per hour with wind gusts to 100 kilometres per hour.

Location: within 75 kilometres of 17.3 degrees South 152.8 degrees East, estimated to be 670 kilometres east northeast of Townsville and 570 kilometres northeast of Mackay.

Movement: west southwest at 8 kilometres per hour.

A tropical low (05U) is developing slowly in the central Coral Sea and is expected to become a tropical cyclone tonight as it tracks west southwest towards the Queensland coast. The system is likely to cross the Queensland coast Thursday night between Cardwell and Bowen as a Category 2 system.

In the longer term, the system is likely to track further inland as a tropical low bringing heavy to intense rain to parts of central and western Queensland.

GALES with DAMAGING WIND GUSTS to 120 km/h are likely to develop about the Whitsunday Islands overnight tonight and extend to mainland communities between Ayr and Sarina during Thursday morning. GALES with DAMAGING WIND GUSTS to 120 km/h are expected to extend northward to coastal and island communities between Ayr and Cardwell including Townsville during Thursday.

GALES with DAMAGING WIND GUSTS to 90 km/h may extend further north between Cardwell and Innisfail if the system tracks further to the north late Thursday, and inland to Charters Towers overnight Thursday night or Friday.

DESTRUCTIVE WIND GUSTS to 140 km/h may develop about coastal and island communities between Cardwell and Proserpine including Townsville and the Whitsunday Islands later Thursday.

HEAVY RAINFALL which may lead to FLASH FLOODING is likely to develop about coastal areas between Innisfail and St Lawrence from early Thursday before spreading to inland areas later during Thursday and continuing during Friday. INTENSE RAINFALL which may lead to DANGEROUS AND LIFE THREATENING FLASH FLOODING is possible near and south of the system, most likely with the coastal crossing during Thursday. A flood watch is also current for these areas.

During Friday, the system is expected to become a tropical low and HEAVY RAINFALL may develop across central and western Queensland into the weekend as the system tracks inland.

As the system approaches and crosses the coast, a STORM TIDE is expected between Townsville and Mackay. Large waves may produce minor flooding along the foreshore. People living in areas likely to be affected by this flooding should take measures to protect their property as much as possible and be prepared to help their neighbours.

Recommended Action:
People between Innisfail to Ayr, including Townsville and inland to Charters Towers, should consider what action they will need to take if the cyclone threat increases.

People between Ayr to Sarina, including Mackay, Bowen, and the Whitsunday Islands should take precautions and listen to the next advice.

- Information is available from your local government

- For cyclone preparedness and safety advice, visit Queensland's Disaster Management Services website (

- For emergency assistance call the Queensland State Emergency Service (SES) on 132 500 (for assistance with storm damage, rising flood water, fallen trees on buildings or roof damage).

Current Tropical Cyclones