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Cyclone Nathan could hit Qld coastline on Thursday

By Mark Beale

ASPIRING Cyclone Nathan has only grown stronger in the past 24 hours, with its strength building significantly in the past six hours.

From its latest spot about 580km east of Cook Town, the possible cyclone has a 50% chance of making landfall – or very close to it – on Thursday.

That would mean the state’s coastline has been hit by cyclones twice in less than three weeks, after Cylone Marcia buffeted Central Queensland from February 20.

Nathan is predicted to strike on or near Cook Town, but will bring heavy rains and winds as far south as Townsville,.

Destructive winds are forecast for the Cape York Peninsula.

Anywhere south of the Whitsundays in Central Queensland will be mostly spared, aside from the odd thunderstorm or cloudy day.

The Bureau of Meteorology predicts the system will head south-west from its current location, reach the far north coastline, then bounce south-east out to sea.

The BOM then expects “babysit” the system as it tires itself out beyond the horizons of the eastern seaboard.

There is not yet any indication that after this first strike, the storm would return to deliver any further grief to Queenslanders.

But BOM’s Jess Carey said the bureau’s forecasts were based on looking “four to five days away”, and beyond that, anything could happen.

“Anything more than four or five days away, it’s very difficult to say,” he said.

“You don’t want to lock anything in, (cylones) are notoriously hard to predict.”

At this rate, the Bureau of Meterology expects to start a “watch” for the system by early afternoon.

From there the BOM will watch as the Low progresses towards becoming an actual Tropical Cyclone.

Its future is also being controlled in part by the growing Tropical Cyclone Pam, a rapidly expanding storm threatening Fiji and Vanuatu.

From there, the cyclone – or ex-cyclone – is then expected to forge a path towards New Zealand.

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