CYCLONE FORMING OFF QUEENSLAND COAST
Friday, 28 December 2007

Brisbane's parched dams could finally be in for a big drink, with forecasters last night predicting a "high" chance of a cyclone developing off the Queensland coast this weekend.

Despite cooler weather across the state over the Christmas and Boxing Day break, the weather bureau last night said a low pressure system was expected to develop in the Coral Sea off Mackay today and move southeast tomorrow before potentially forming into a cyclone over the weekend.

Forecasters said the best estimate was that any cyclone would remain out to sea, off Fraser Island. But the last cyclone to cross the coast near Fraser Island was the system which filled the Somerset Dam and led to Brisbane's 1974 floods.

The combined dam levels of Brisbane's main dams dropped below 20 per cent again over Christmas.

Forecaster Craig Mitchell said the only certainty last night was that the state's coastal waters were in for a wild weekend. A coastal wind warning had already been issued between Cardwell in north Queensland and Hervey Bay.

"It's going to cause some dangerous conditions around the coastal beaches, bringing with it large swells which will be dangerous for swimmers and for boaties generally around the southeast," Mr Mitchell said.




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