Cyclone Oma to intensify into the weekend


Early on Friday, Oma was about 700km east, northeast of Brisbane.

The Cyclone's expected path remains uncertain, but the landfall of Oma is likely around the weekend only. Abnormally high tides & unsafe surf conditions continue.

The same conditions are expected as far south as Yamba in northern NSW.

Surf Life Saving Queensland announced that all Gold Coast Beaches were closed yesterday morning as a result of the building swell.

"It's looking increasingly likely that it will track close to the southeast Queensland coast, (but) it's hard to say how close it will get at the moment", she said.

In Ballina and Byron Bay, residents were cautioned of rising tides, ocean swell and unsafe surf, with an abnormally high-tide warning issued for Ballina.

Queensland water police on Wednesday issued a warning to swimmers, fishers and boaters to stay out of waters and away from unsafe areas for "at least the next five days".

After that, its behaviour is less predictable.

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The BOM said gale force winds, with gusts greater than 90km/h, were expected to develop along exposed coastal areas of southern Queensland during today well ahead of Oma.

"We are starting to see the main swell packet from Oma starting to arrive on the south coast of Queensland now", Mr Hall told ABC radio.

BoM forecaster Adam Blazak said one of the scenarios was Oma may "linger" off the southeast coast and this potentially could have an enormous impact, creating a sustained deluge.

Elsewhere, P&O's Pacific Explorer - which was due to go from Sydney to Moreton Island on Thursday - instead got diverted and went south to NSW Sapphire Coast, centred on Eden, while Carnival Spirit, operated by Carnival Cruise Lines, was due to take the same route on Saturday, but will now go south to Phillip Island in Victoria.

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

"This has the potential to be a significant beach erosion event given the combination of the large surf, abnormally high tides and the fact that these conditions should persist for a few days", the weather bureau said late on Friday.

The longer the storm lingers, the more damage it is likely to cause as waves as high as six metres have been seen along the shore.

Monster 12 and 13 metre waves were recorded offshore of Point Lookout on North Stradbroke Island, and offshore of Mooloolaba on the Sunshine Coast on Friday. Inland areas which are drought stricken may benefit from the rain Oma brings with itself. "It would end up decaying and dropping rainfall in those dry areas".