Cyclone Oma expected to linger until early next week

Pablo Tucker
February 22, 2019

While it's not expected to cross the coast, Oma will come close enough for winds to lash the coast in southeast Queensland and far northern New South Wales.

"With the centre of the low from the south now expected to stay west of the country until it reaches the upper North Island on Sunday, the Tasman District is only expected to see brief rain this weekend".

"Dangerous surf conditions are forecast to develop about the east coast of Fraser Island and Wide Bay coast north of Bargara later this afternoon and evening", the bureau warned.

How said residents of the affected areas could expected "very heavy rainfall, gale force winds and storm surges" and these conditions, along with abnormally high tides, could cause flooding.

Cyclone Oma
Cyclone Oma has been downgraded to a category one storm. Image Bureau Of Meteorology

The storm system is likely to keep heading slowly towards southeast Queensland on Friday although it is not expected to cross the coast in the next few days.

Bureau of Meteorology forecaster Adam Blazak said there was still disagreement about which path the storm will take, but there was a possibility it could make landfall at the weekend.

They are expected to break high tide records again by about one metre on the morning high tides on Thursday and Friday morning.

Mr Hall said there would still be impacts to the Queensland coast.

Wide Bay Volunteer Marine Rescue's Bill Ker said conditions are likely to be particularly unsafe for small and recreational watercraft.

The Bureau has also issued a Flood Watch from Gladstone to the New South Wales border.

"The chance of Cyclone Oma hitting is less likely now, however it can't be ruled out", BoM forecaster Kimba Wong said.

Modelling from Europe and the USA shows the system could hit the Queensland coast by the end of the week, bringing 200km/h winds and up to 500mm of rain to the state's southeast, but meteorologist Kimba Wong said there were still many different scenarios for how the cyclone will develop.

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

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.

Forecasting images showed "the range of likely tracks of the cyclone centre" but this is "uncertainty associated with tropical cyclone forecasting", the Bureau website advises.

CYCLONE Oma has been upgraded to a destructive Category 3 system as it continues to bear down on the Queensland coast.

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