Queenslanders in the far north have been warned by the Bureau of Meteorology to take cover as Tropical Cyclone Tiffany strengthened into a category 2 storm just hours from reaching landfall.
“People between Cape Tribulation and Coen, including Cooktown, should complete preparations quickly and be prepared to shelter in a safe place,” said the bureau.
Watch the video above for more on Queensland’s worsening conditions
The cyclone, which formed in the Coral Sea, is expected to cross into Queensland between Cooktown and the Lockhart River sometime on Monday night.
The bureau is warning communities to expect wind gusts of up to 130km/h as the centre of the cyclone makes landfall.
Tiffany was sitting approximately 190km northeast of Cooktown late on Sunday.
It is expected to bring destructive winds and heavy rain to communities in far north Queensland before moving into the Gulf of Carpentaria on Tuesday.
It’s anticipated it will intensify as it moves towards the NT coast.
Severe tropical cyclone coastal impact in the NT is possible on Wednesday or Thursday, the bureau says.
“People in far north Queensland communities will start seeing and feeling the effects of Tropical Cyclone Tiffany as it comes closer to the coast, which means an increased risk of flooding and some localised damage in these regions,” Senior Meteorologist Dean Narramore said.
Fatal Queensland floods
It comes as the state battles deadly floodwaters in the Maryborough region, a suburb in the Fraser Coast Region, which has claimed the life of a 22-year-old after a body was found in a submerged ute at Kanigan, north of Gympie, on Saturday.
A 14-year-old girl remains missing as of early Saturday, with police holding grave fears for her safety.
Authorities had expected the river in Maryborough to peak above a major flood level of 10.5 metres, impacting about 80 homes on Sunday afternoon, after the remnants of tropical cyclone Seth dumped 600mm on the Wide Bay-Burnett region in two days.
The levee was protecting the CBD until an underground stormwater valve failed just before 2pm on Sunday, allowing floodwater to surge through the drains and into the streets.
A dozen pumps each moving about 120 litres a second appear to have kept the floodwaters at bay as the river peaked at about 10 metres late on Sunday night, the local mayor said.
On Sunday morning, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said emergency services were readying for the cyclone.
“So to all the residents in those areas please be on the lookout, I know that they know how to deal with these events,” she told reporters.
“They’re very well prepared and we’ll be keeping a very close eye on that.”