Chance of cyclone firms as huge swell builds on Coast

THE Bureau of Meteorology is forecasting a moderate chance of a cyclone forming in the Coral Sea off the Queensland coast by Saturday.

It says a weak trough extending across the northwest Coral Sea was expected to deepen and become more active as a monsoon develops through the Coral Sea from tomorrow through the weekend.

In its latest forecast it rates the chances of a cyclone forming at very low - or less than 5 per cent - for the rest of Thursday and Friday and moderate for Saturday.

The BoM's definitions describe 'moderate' as a 20-50 per cent chance of a cyclone forming.

It said a low may develop within the monsoon trough over the Coral Sea well offshore from the Queensland coast, with a moderate chance of cyclone development from Saturday as the monsoon strengthens.

"If a low or tropical cyclone did form, it would move east-southeast, away from the Queensland coast," the forecast states.

Modelling by a range of forecasters including the US Navy and PredictWind were yet to align although the premier global marine forecaster has reduced its prediction of two cyclones forming next week to just one.

Sunshine Coast Daily forecaster Mike Perry however remains convinced that whatever unfolds this region was already on track to experience a significant swell increase over the coming days.

He says that swell increase, driven by strong easterly winds that have blown for at least the past four days over open ocean well offshore near New Zealand would see surf on our beaches increase regardless of the movement of other weather systems.

Bureau forecaster Adam Blazak said surfers could expect to see an increasingly easterly swell over the coming days.

He said a north east swell which would light up all of south east Queensland's point breaks could also reach 4-6 feet by mid week but that remained too far out to be certain at this stage.

Mr Blazak said there was a 50 per cent chance of rain throughout Australia Day but falls would be light until potential thunderstorms developed in the region's hinterland later in the afternoon or evening.

He said people should keep an eye on the BoM's rain radar so they miss being caught by any storm that may develop.

There's a 50 per cent chance of showers during the remainder of today with the chance of a thunderstorm in the region's far north late this morning or this afternoon. Easterly winds from 15-25km/h would fade later this afternoon.

It would be a warm overnight into Australia Day with temperatures not dropping below 22 degrees before climbing to a maximum of 29 degrees. Expect easterly winds from 20-30km/h.

Saturday's temperatures would be similar with wind from the east south east gusting to 30km/h with the chance of morning showers and a thunder storm in the afternoon or evening.

Winds were expected to switch south east Sunday reaching 30 km/h on another 29 degree day with a 50 per cent chance of showers.

There's also a 60 per cent chance of rain on Monday with showers in the morning and the possibility of thunder storms with south south easterlies to 30 km/h on a day where the maximum temperature would again reach 29 degrees.

Tuesday's temperature maximum would reach 30 degrees spiking to 31 degrees on Wednesday.

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