Queensland could be in for a Christmas cyclone

A surfer heads out Snapper Rocks as Cyclone Marcia approaches the coast of Queensland on February 19. Photo: Chris Hyde/ Getty.

The weather bureau has put out a cyclone warning for far north Queensland, saying there’s “a high chance” that a monsoon trough and tropical low could strengthening and form a cyclone by Wednesday — two days before Christmas.

It would be the first cyclone of the season and most likely impact the western Cape York Peninsula and the southern Gulf of Carpentaria. Its exact path is unclear.

Senior forecaster Jonty Hall told the ABC that current conditions are very conducive to further intensification.

“If it does develop through the Gulf of Carpentaria waters, they are very enclosed and so whatever direction it moves is mostly likely to the south-south-east,” he said.

“No matter which direction it moves, it is likely to approach land along the Gulf of Carpentaria coast.”

Cameron Beccario’s amazing weather website “earth” shows the storm cell forming out to sea.

Watch it moving here.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has also mapped that there’s a high probability of a cyclone forming in the area.

In 1974 Cyclone Tracy devastated Darwin from Christmas Eve to Christmas Day.

It was the most compact cyclone or equivalent-strength hurricane on record in the Australian basin, with gale-force winds extending only 48 kilometres from the centre.

It killed 71 people and caused $837 million in damage — which is equivalent to more than $4.5 billion now.

The BOM provides a cyclone preparation and safety procedures checklist. Should you need it, you can find it here.

Read more here.

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