THE remnants of tropical cyclone Penny is approaching the North Queensland coast as a low pressure system with heavy-rainfall expected in some parts.
There is still a moderate chance that the low could re-intensify into cyclone strength, but Bureau of Meteorology Weather Services Manager Richard Wardle, said the most likely scenario was that it will cross the coast as a low.
"Either way, heavy rainfall and damaging winds will be the main impacts," Dr Wardle said.
A severe weather warning is currently in place for coastal regions between Alva Beach on the Burdekin and Sarina for damaging winds and heavy rainfall which may lead to flash flooding possible on the southern flank of the system.
"Heavy rain will initially develop around coastal regions from Tuesday with isolated falls in excess of 200mm possible,” Dr Wardle said.
"Damaging winds with wind peak gusts of around 90 kilometres an hour may develop over the Whitsunday Islands as early as tonight.”
The Whitsunday Regional Harbour Master issued a warning for marine operators, island resorts, marins and boat owners to prepare for the onset of severe weather immediately, with wind speeds between 35-45 knots possible from tomorrow morning.
Penny is set to move onto the Queensland east coast during late Wednesday, but the scenario of it crossing earlier than this cannot be ruled out, particularly if it maintains its current motion towards the southwest.
"Ex-tropical Cyclone Penny is then forecast to move in a northerly direction along the Queensland coast during the week, bringing heavy falls northern coastal catchments which have already experienced recent heavy rain and may be more responsive," Dr Wardle said.
BOM meteorologist James Thompson said the tropical low was well east of Townsville and the Whitsunday coast at the moment, with areas between Alva Beach and Sarina, including inland to Collinsville, the first to feel the impact in the next 24-30 hours.
Mr Thompson said areas on the southern side of the low could expect rainfall totals between 50-100mm, with isolated showers in excess of 200mm.
The system is expected to track north-west, with the heaviest falls on the coastal areas.
He said tropical storms in inland areas in the Northern Gold Fields and Upper Flinders could expect enhanced storm activity from Wednesday.
The Bureau has issued a new flood watch today for coastal catchments from St Lawrence to Cape Tribulation including the Mackay, Townsville and Cairns surrounding regions.
Cyclone Penny first formed in the Gulf of Carpentaria on New Year’s Day, crossing the coast near Weipa as a category one storm that afternoon.
It then moved across the Cape York Peninsula into the Coral Sea where it reformed into a cyclone on Wednesday. She continued to build strength into a category two storm before tracking back toward the coast and being downgraded to a low.