High chance cyclone will develop on weekend

A TROPICAL cyclone is forecast to impact parts of North Queensland in the first week of 2019, the Bureau of Meteorology has warned.

The forecast system is expected to hit further north, with Townsville set to dodge the wild weather and enjoy fairly fine conditions at the start of the new year.

"On Monday or Tuesday we will see a potential tropical cyclone to the east of the Cape York Peninsula … at this stage modelling suggests it will move further east as we go through next week," meteorologist Gordon Banks said.

"In the short term that will keep it away from the coast and there won't be too much influence on Townsville area."

The bureau said two tropical lows were expected to form a "significant tropical low" offshore of the Peninsula coast in the next 24 hours, and if it remained over water at the weekend would have a moderate chance of forming a tropical cyclone.

There is more than a 50 per cent chance of a cyclone forming on Sunday.

The system is expected to bring stronger south easterly winds on the local coast over the next few days.

A flood watch will be in place over Cape York Peninsula, with the bureau expected to issue a severe weather warning for areas north of Ingham tomorrow.

"There is the potential for heavy rainfall and potentially some damaging winds closer to where the low is developing further up the peninsula," Mr Banks said.

With Townsville out of the firing line, residents are set to enjoy fine conditions at the weekend, with very little change in temperatures.


Luke Purcell and Clair Maurice, from Sydney, enjoy Townsville’s fine conditions.
Luke Purcell and Clair Maurice, from Sydney, enjoy Townsville’s fine conditions.


Minimum temperatures of between 23-25C are expected with a maximum of 31 or 32C for Saturday and Sunday.

The average December maximum temperature for Townsville is 31.5C.

The Bureau of Meteorology has forecast a few light showers along the coastal fringe, around Palm Island coming onto the coast near Ingham, but very little is forecast for around Townsville.

Possible showers are expected on Saturday with activity to begin to increase on Sunday mostly north of Townsville.

Skies will be partly cloudy but UV levels will remain high.

Residents having fun in the North Queensland sun are being urged to take the normal precautions - apply sunscreen, wear a hat and sunglasses.

While conditions will be fine on land, they won't be ideal for boaties with rougher seas expected due to a deepening tropical low over Cape York Peninsula, forming in the northwest Coral Sea.

New Year's Eve is forecast to be a warm night with temperatures in the high 20s around midnight.

Conditions should be fairly dry, ideal for fireworks, which will light up the Townsville sky.