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THE tropical low off Queensland’s coast that is expected to develop into Tropical Cyclone Debbie over the weekend has the potential to be a “Category 3 or higher”.
The low was today sitting about 610km east of Cairns in the Coral Sea. It was moving south at 15km/h but was expected to veer west over the coming days.
Bureau of Meteorology Queensland Regional Director, Bruce Gunn, said it would likely reach cyclone strength as early as Saturday.
“Communities between Cape Tribulation and Proserpine are urged to prepare now for a potential crossing anytime between late Sunday and early Tuesday, but the most likely scenario is for the cyclone to make landfall between Cairns and Townsville on Monday,” said Mr Gunn.
“There is always a degree of uncertainty in forecasting cyclones, for this reason we urge the public to stay tuned for the latest official warnings from the Bureau of Meteorology and follow the advice of local emergency services.
“The intensity of the cyclone will hinge on how much time the system spends over the water. If the cyclone speeds up, it is likely remain at the lower end of the spectrum, but if it crosses on Monday or Tuesday there is the potential for it to intensify to severe tropical cyclone strength, Category 3 or higher.”
A cruise ship carrying about 1000 passengers and crew has cancelled its scheduled stop in Townsville on Monday due to the cyclone threat, while Townsville Airport said the weather system may impact airlines.http://www.couriermail.com.au/news/queensland/crisis-talks-as-north-queensland-cyclone-looms/news-story/ec7e1b1ece56f9995f0edd4988a54798