See ya later, Iris! Cyclone warning cancelled
THE Bureau of Meteorology has cancelled its cyclone warning as Tropical Cylone Iris continues to turn away from the coast and is expected to weaken further.
In the latest advice by the Bureau of Meteorology the cyclone is east southeast further away from the coast, where it's expected to further weaken tonight.
"On Thursday, Iris should weaken below tropical cyclone intensity and slow down offshore of the Central Coast, before adopting a track back towards the northwest as a tropical low during Friday," the BoM says.
A cyclone warning zone remains in place from Bowen to Shoalwater Bay, including Mackay and the Whitsunday Islands.
Damaging winds of up to 120km/h have been recorded, though are beginning to ease near the Whitsunday Islands as the cyclone moves further away.
But the bureau warns gales could redevelop about the Whitsunday Islands and exposed coastal areas between Bowen and Shoalwater Bay tonight if the cyclone takes a more southerly track than expected.
Heavy rainfall, leading to flood flooding, is also becoming unlikely as the cyclone weakens.
"However, heavy rainfall may still develop about coastal parts of the central Queensland coast tonight or on Thursday if the cyclone takes a more southerly track than expected," the BoM says.
A Flood Watch is current for coastal catchments between Ayr and St Lawrence.
EARLIER: Residents in the Whitsunday region of the state's's north have been spared the worst of Tropical Cyclone Iris after it failed to strengthen overnight. However, the lingering effects of the erratic system are expected to continue for at least another week.
Forecasters had predicted Iris would intensify into a category three system in the early hours of Wednesday.
Instead, it weakened.
Bureau of Meteorology forecaster Jonathan How said conditions weren't conducive to maintaining a cyclone, and Iris remained a category two.
It should weaken into a category one later on Wednesday and turn into a tropical low by nightfall, Mr How said.
It will change direction and begin to track northwest by Friday, with wild weather still predicted.
"Even if Iris does weaken to below tropical cyclone intensity, severe weather could still be experienced along the central coast for the rest of the week," he added.
Iris is about 190 kilometres northeast of Hamilton Island and moving slowly south-southeast at about 12km/h.
A cyclone warning remains in place from Bowen to Shoalwater Bay, including Mackay and the Whitsunday Islands, but a watch zone for further south has been cancelled.
Residents in affected areas are being urged to stay inside because of gale-force winds and heavy rain.
Gusts of more than 100km/h are continuing to lash the Whitsunday Islands. Heavy rain is also expected and a flood watch has been issued for coastal catchments between Ayr and St Lawrence.
EARLIER 11am: Tropical Cyclone Iris is expected to weaken slightly on Wednesday before tracking back towards the coast at the end of the week.
The Bureau of Meteorology's latest tropical cyclone advice has the Category 2 system 240km north-northeast of Mackay and moving south-southeast at 12km/hr.
The weather bureau said the system was expected to gradually weaken today before weakening to a tropical low on Thursday.
"On Thursday, Iris should weaken below tropical cyclone intensity and slow down offshore of the CentralCoast, before adopting a track back towards the northwest as a tropical low during Friday," BoM said.
Wind gusts of 100km/hr are being recorded around the Whitsunday Islands and should hit coastal areas between Bowen and Shoalwater Bay later today or tonight.
Heavy rainfall is also likely to continue along the east coast with a flood watch current from Ayr to St Lawrence.
Parts of Queensland hit by Tropical Cyclone Debbie just a year ago are among those in the firing line of Iris,
Gales are occurring in the Whitsunday Islands and may develop between Bowen and St Lawrence today. People in the area have been told to secure boats
Gales may extend south to Yeppoon by tonight and heavy rain, which could lead to flash flooding, may develop about parts of the Central Queensland coast today.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk was updated on the situation as she chaired a meeting of the Queensland Disaster Management Committee on the Gold Coast yesterday.
"No matter what community gets impacted we are all here to help," she said.
State Emergency Services Minister Craig Crawford said conditions were expected to be less severe than Tropical Cyclone Debbie.
"We believe it's going to sit around the Whitsunday region for a couple of days and then head further out to sea," he said.
Residents of Cairns and Townsville, which will host Commonwealth Games events later this week, appear to be in the clear, but are being urged to keep a close watch.
A watch zone is in place from St Lawrence to Yeppoon.