Owen now not expected to reach southeast, but then again...
THE volume of rain expected to fall over the Gympie region has been significantly downgraded and a slowing Severe Tropical Cyclone Owen was last night not expected to make landfall until today.
Owen was a Category 3 strength system in the Gulf of Carpentaria last night and forecast to continue on a generally easterly track, intensifying to Category 4 strength before making landfall today.
Bureau of Meteorology forecasters have warned that the Gympie region could cop "potentially severe thunderstorms" over the weekend and early next week as Tropical Cyclone Owen continues its slow approach.
The BoM said "not a lot of change" had come from previous Gympie forecasts.
BoM forecaster Amber Raman said "unstable air mass" would potentially exacerbate rainfall and thunderstorms forecasted for today and tomorrow.
She said Gympie and the wider region was at "increased risk of severe storms", which would potentially bring heavy rainfall with them.
"Reasonable dumps" of rainfall had already created localised flash flooding to the north, and Ms Raman said Gympie could see similar patterns develop depending on the conditions.
Bureau of Meteorology Weather Services Manager, Dr Richard Wardle, said Cyclone Owen had slowed down and remained virtually stationary on the Northern Territory coast for several hours yesterday, before turning back to the east under the influence of a mid-level trough and upper low over southeastern Australia.
"Due to this slow-down, Cyclone Owen is now likely to cross the Queensland coast on the western Cape York Peninsula later than initially anticipated, most likely early Saturday morning before moving in a southeasterly direction, rapidly weakening over land.
"While the system will weaken to a low over land, damaging to destructive winds will continue for several hundred kilometres inland as will areas of very heavy rainfall near the low,” he said.
A Flood Watch remains in place for a very broad area extending from the Gulf of Carpentaria and southern Cape York Peninsula to coastal catchments from Cape Tribulation to Rainbow Beach. Some of these catchments have already seen significant recent rainfall when the low crossed the far north Queensland coast from the Coral Sea.
"Forecast models generally bring the system down Queensland's east coast, but not as far as southeast Queensland. Impacts may include very heavy rainfall with the potential for flash flooding with damaging to destructive winds possible.
"There is also a moderate chance that Owen will re-develop into a tropical cyclone in the Coral Sea on Sunday or Monday if it moves over water.
"This dynamic weather situation is compounded by severe thunderstorms for large areas of eastern Queensland, with the potential for heavy rainfall due to the very moist tropical airmass in place and the upper low over New South Wales.”