A tropical cyclone has formed off the coast of far-north Queensland, with residents told to prepare to bunker down for gale-force winds and heavy rain.
The Bureau of Meteorology on Sunday declared the formation of tropical cyclone Kimi – a category one system – about 140km north-east of Cooktown.
Kimi is expected to creep south-west and cross the north tropical coast between Cape Flattery and Port Douglas on Monday morning.
The bureau warned it may rise to a category two rating before crossing.
Cape Melville and Cardwell residents were advised on Sunday fternoon to immediately start preparing for the cyclone, securing boats and property during daylight hours.
Gale-force winds up to 120km/h were tipped to hit those areas from Sunday evening and extend to Palmerville and Chillagoe on Monday as the cyclone moved inland.
A flood watch was also activated, with heavy rainfall forecast about coastal and adjacent inland areas between Cape Flattery and Cardwell from Sunday afternoon.
Other towns within the warning area include Cooktown, Cairns and Innisfail.
Meteorologist Kimba Wong said minor to moderate flooding and disruption to transport routes were possible within that zone.
It came as the bureau warned of more potentially severe thunderstorms for south-east Queensland on Sunday afternoon and Monday.
There were reports of 2-3cm of hail at Edens Landing, south of Brisbane, on Saturday as thunderstorms hit the state’s south-east.
Rainfall around Brisbane averaged 15-30mm, while 30-60mm totals were felt further north on the Sunshine Coast.
Despite the rain, Brisbane had its hottest day since 16 December 2019 as the mercury topped 35.3C on Saturday.
Wong expected heatwave conditions to continue in the state’s north-west before easing by midweek.