HEAVY rain and high wind is forecast in coastal areas as ex-tropical cyclone Penny lingers off the north Queensland coast.
Mackay received 40mm of rain in the 24 hours to 9am on Tuesday, with similar falls expected as the system makes its way north-west.
But the Bureau of Meteorology said uncertainty remains as to where or if the low will reach the coast, with models showing a range of different scenarios.
BOM meteorologist Adam Blazak said the low was situated about 270km north-east of Mackay at 11am on Tuesday, and was bringing rain and strong winds to the central coast.
A severe weather warning was in place from Alva Beach down to Biloela for heavy rain and possibly damaging wind gusts.
“There is still a bit of uncertainty with the movement tracking along the Townsville coastline, west-north-west and heaving over land but it is in a weakening phase at the moment.
“It looks at this stage to remain as a tropical low, though there is still the potential for heavy rain and tropical wind gusts.
“Whether it touches the coast or sits just off skirting the coast will have a big difference.”
Mr Blazak said the central and Townsville coast should prepare for strong winds and heavy rain over the next two days.
He said falls of between 30-50mm were likely in some locations with isolated falls up to 100mm.
Mr Blazak said there was the potential that the system would sit off the coast and track up toward Innisfail, bringing more rain to the already saturated far north.
Other models show that the inland area around Georgetown may benefit from some rain.
Bureau of Meteorology weather services manager Richard Wardle said the heaviest rain was expected to be recorded 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.
A warning was put in place for damaging wind peak gusts around 90 kilometres over the Whitsunday Islands on Monday night.
A flood watch was also in place for coastal catchments between St Lawrence and Cape Tribulation.
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 January 2. She continued to build strength into a category two storm before tracking back toward the coast and being downgraded to a low.