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Cyclone Oma Defies Forecast And Thunders Towards QLD

Cyclone Oma has been upgraded to a category three cyclone as it moves closer to the Queensland Coast. 

Oma was expected to turn south-east towards New Zealand late on Tuesday, however, it continued in a south-westerly direction instead.

The Bureau of Meteorology has warned residents not to rule out the possibility of the cyclone making landfall.

People have also been informed that a Cyclone Watch warning could be issued for parts of the Queensland and the northern NSW coast in addition to hazardous surf warnings already in place.

READ MORE: Cyclone Oma: QLD Braces As Heavy Winds And High Tides Descend

"Tropical Cyclone Oma is expected to continue moving in a general southwesterly direction for the next few days, bringing it closer to the Queensland coast late in the week or over the weekend," 10  News First weather expert Josh Holt said.

The cyclone is currently 1,120 kilometres north-east of Brisbane, but it is still unclear exactly where on the coast the system could get close to.

"It could hover off the coast anywhere south of about St Lawrence, so the area around Rockhampton and anywhere south of right down to around Brisbane," Holt said.

Cyclone Oma
Cyclone Oma is tracking towards Queensland. Image: Bureau Of Meteorology

Holt said a high-pressure system tracking across southern Australia could keep the cyclone off the Queensland coast. This means Oma could get close to the coast, but not pass it.

"I've got to emphasise it could come near the coast but not necessarily cross the coast," he said.

"... the most likely scenario at this stage is that the high wind will begin to tear it apart and weaken the system as it approaches and could even potentially push it further north."

Category three cyclones, or severe tropical cyclones, are characterised by destructive winds which can result in structural damage and mass power failure.

The Bureau of Meteorology has predicted the system will weaken to a category two on Friday as it tracks towards the coast. Whether Cyclone Oma will make landfall will be clearer on Thursday.

At this stage, the main damage will be at the marine level.

Cyclone Oma Large Swells
The biggest level of damage will be from a marine standpoint. Image: Getty Images.

"The biggest impact for the southeast coast will be from a marine standpoint," Holt said.

"Abnormally high tides are expected along the southern Queensland coast in the coming days. Waves of three-to-four metres are also possible causing beach erosion."

Hazardous surf warnings have been put in place, with rock fishers, swimmers and surfers being urged to follow beach signage and warnings from authorities.

Erosion is expected anywhere between Sandy Cape, QLD and northern New South Wales.

Featured Image: Bureau Of Meteorology.

Contact Siobhan at skenna@networkten.com.au