Australia

Oma puts northern NSW on cyclone watch

Gale force winds and big swells are forecast as Cyclone Oma closes in on southeast Queensland. Source: AAP

Parts of northern NSW and Queensland are on cyclone watch as Oma whips up dangerous surf conditions.

Tropical cyclone Oma is continuing its slow, steady course towards Australia's east coast.

The category two storm is not expected to cross the coast in the next few days but it will come close enough for winds to lash the coast in south-east Queensland and far northern New South Wales.

Large swells coinciding with king tides are expected to cause erosion, and communities from Bundaberg in Queensland, south to Ballina in NSW, are under a cyclone watch.

Late on Thursday Oma was about 820km northeast of Brisbane, packing wind gusts of up to 130km/h.

Huge swells and high tides are set to Australian beaches over the coming days.
Huge swells and high tides are set to Australian beaches over the coming days.
AAP

The storm system is likely to keep heading slowly towards southeast Queensland on Friday with category two intensity.

But Oma could slow on Saturday and change course to a more north or northwest direction.

"Although Oma is not expected to make landfall in the coming days it will be close enough to produce direct impacts along the Queensland and NSW coast," the Bureau of Meteorology has warned.

"Gale force winds are expected to develop along exposed coastal areas of southern Queensland during Friday, well ahead of Oma, and may extend into coastal parts of northern NSW on Saturday."

Water levels on the morning high tide may exceed the highest tide of the year by around one metre over the next few days.

People in the cyclone watch zone have been urged to think about what preparations they might need to make if the cyclone threat increases.

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