Oma gawd! Cyclone heads our way
SOUTHEAST Queensland is bracing for a possible direct hit from Cyclone Oma, with huge swells set to pound beaches on the Gold and Sunshine coasts this week.
One respected weather model has the cyclone bearing down on Brisbane by tomorrow week, but wild weather is predicted before then.
Strong winds, rain and 3m to 4m waves are forecast as Oma - a Category 2 storm that has already lashed Vanuatu with 100km/h gales and flooding rains and is now threatening New Caledonia - moves southwest and intensifies.
Charts from the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts has southeast Queensland in the line of Oma's fury.
"We can't rule that out," Bureau of Meteorology forecaster Lachlan Stoney said yesterday.
"However, the consensus among a variety of models is that the system will stay well off the Queensland coast, halfway between here and New Caledonia."
Mr Stoney said Oma was moving slowly but building in intensity, and it was predicted to grow to a Category 3 storm by today.
Coastalwatch chief forecaster Ben Macartney said the cyclone swell was set to be one of the biggest in years.
"No matter which model you look at, the system looms as a historical swell-producer - right up there with other tropical-cyclone- driven events of the past decade," he said.
Surfers on the Gold and Sunshine coasts are already lapping up a pumping swell, which is expected to rise significantly by midweek.
World champions Mick Fanning and Mark Occhilupo were among hundreds of surfers carving up the southern Gold Coast point breaks of Snapper Rocks, Rainbow Bay, Greenmount and Kirra.
Pro-surfing glamour couple Jack Freestone and Alana Blanchard were also seen at Rainbow Bay teaching their toddler son, Banks, to ride the shore break.
Mostly fine weather was forecast for the southeast this week, with temperatures in the high 20s to low 30s and gusty southerly winds.
Strong winds, showers and rain are predicted from Friday onwards.