Tropical Cyclone Owen may strengthened to a category three system, as Queensland braces for heavy rain and destructive winds.
The Bureau of Meteorology says the category two cyclone has been moving west across the warm waters of the Gulf of Carpentaria on Wednesday.
But it is expected to turn back towards Queensland on Thursday and could intensify further into a category three system.
A coastal crossing along the southeast Gulf of Carpentaria on Friday afternoon is the most likely scenario, BOM weather services manager Richard Wardle says.
"Heavy rainfall will be one of the major impacts of this event. A Flood Watch has been updated today to include catchments from the Daintree to Townsville and this will likely be expanded in the coming days," he said.
Destructive winds with gusts to 130km/h are expected to develop along the coast near the Northern Territory and Queensland border on Thursday.
The system is then predicted to push south, dumping much-needed heavy rain along the entire east coast of the state.
"It's important to be aware that before we begin to feel the effects of this system in the south-east we are also forecasting severe thunderstorms with heavy falls in southern Queensland on Friday and Saturday,' Dr Wardle said.
"We're certainly in for a very active end to the year weatherwise," he said.
Australian Associated Press