TROPICAL Cyclone Nathan, which is expected to cross the Queensland coast on Friday, could become a category five system, the Bureau of Meteorology has told the ABC.
In its latest advice at 2pm, BOM said Cyclone Nathan was currently category 3 and still expected to intensify before crossing early Friday.
The warning zone extends from Lockhart River to Port Douglas, extending inland to areas including Laura and Palmerville.
A short time ago it sustained winds near the centre of 140 kilometres per hour with wind gusts to 195 kilometres per hour.
It was estimated to be 185 kilometres east of Cape Flattery and 205 kilometres east northeast of Cooktown.
It was moving west at 13 kilometres per hour.
“Further intensification is expected before the system makes landfall as a category 4 cyclone, most likely between Cape Melville and Cooktown early on Friday morning,” the bureau statement said.
Maximum wind gusts are forecast to reach 260 km/h.
Gales may develop about coastal and island communities between Lockhart River and Port Douglas on Thursday evening and overnight, before extending inland to areas including Palmerville and Laura during Friday morning.
Destructive winds will extend out to about 70 kilometres from the centre of the cyclone and may begin to affect coastal and island communities between Cape Melville and Cape Tribulation late tonight and into Friday morning.
Heavy rainfall, which may lead to flash flooding, is expected to develop about the coast between Coen and Cape Tribulation tonight, extending west through inland parts with the passage of Tropical Cyclone Nathan on Friday.
– For cyclone preparedness and safety advice, visit Queensland’s Disaster Management Services website (www.disaster.qld.gov.au)
– For emergency assistance call the Queensland State Emergency Service (SES) on 132 500 (for assistance with Rescue crews sent north as Cyclone Nathan approachesstorm damage, rising flood water, fallen trees on buildings or roof damage).
Rescue crews sent north as Cyclone Nathan approaches
RESCUE crews are on their way to far north Queensland as the state prepares to face the onslaught of Cyclone Nathan.
Queensland Fire and Emergency Servise is dispatching 51 urban search and rescue exprts from across the state ahead of Nathan’s arrival.
These experts specialise in swiftwater rescue and rapid damage assessment.
SES volunteers have also been drawn out of central and northern Queensland so they are ready to help before and after Nathan smashes into the coastline.
The 41 volunteers will be working with residents to prepare their homes then be in place once the cyclone passes.
From the Bureau of Meteorology, updated at 9am
The VERY DESTRUCTIVE CORE of severe tropical cyclone Nathan, with maximum wind gusts forecast to reach 260 km/h, is expected to make landfall between Cape Melville and Cape Tribulation early on Friday morning.
GALES with gusts to 120 km/h currently extend out to approximately 130 kilometres from the centre of the cyclone. GALES may develop about coastal and island communities between Lockhart River and Cairns late this afternoon or tonight, before extending inland to areas including Palmerville and Laura on Friday morning.
DESTRUCTIVE WINDS extend out to about 70 kilometres from the centre of the cyclone and may begin to affect coastal and island communities between Cape Melville and Port Douglas overnight Thursday into early Friday morning.
Coastal residents between Cape Melville and Cairns are specifically warned of the dangerous storm tide that could occur as the cyclone crosses the coast.
The sea is likely to rise steadily up to a level well above the normal tide, with damaging waves and flooding of some low-lying areas, which could also extend some way inland.
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 follow instructions regarding evacuation of the area if advised to do so by the authorities.
Heavy rainfall, which may lead to flash flooding, may develop late Thursday but will most likely occur during Friday as the cyclone crosses the coast.