Low could be category two cyclone at landfall
UPDATE 5:10PM: The tropical low developing in the Coral Sea has curved on a southwesterly track and is now expected to make landfall north of Yeppoon as a category 2 cyclone.
The Bureau of Meteorology predicts it will make landfall early on Friday.
A category 2 cyclone has winds of between 125km/h and 164km/h.
It has the potential to cause minor damage to houses and significant damage to signs, trees and caravans, plus heavy damage to some crops.
There's also the risk of power failure, and small boats may break their moorings.
The low is expected to slowly intensify, with a high chance of it becoming a tropical cyclone overnight into Thursday morning, and reaching category 2 intensity at landfall.
The system will result in significant impacts over eastern Queensland districts regardless of whether it transitions to a tropical cyclone.
QFES deputy commissioner Mark Roche said regardless of whether the system becomes a cyclone or not, it was vital for residents to prepare for severe weather now.
"Check your house, in particular the roof, is in good condition, keep branches clear of the house, clean gutters and clear your property of debris," Mr Roche said.
"Also ensure your emergency kit is well stocked with essential items and is kept close by.
"If you live in an area which could be impacted by localised flooding, move vehicles, outdoor equipment, indoor items, garbage, chemicals and poisons to higher locations."
Mr Roche said the heavy rainfall could result in the flooding of creeks, drains and causeways.
"The simple and constant message here is: if it's flooded, forget it," he said.
A severe weather warning for destructive winds, heavy rainfall, high tides and dangerous surf remains in place for the Gladstone region.
UPDATE 11.30AM: The Bureau of Meteorology has updated its severe weather warning for the Gladstone region as a tropical low moves closer to the coast.
At 11.30am on Wednesday, the low pressure system was over the Coral Sea about 1050km north north-east of Bundaberg.
The low is expected to develop into a tropical cylone as it moves south-westwards, and is forecast to cross the Capricornia or Wide Bay coast early on Friday.
A trough will extend southwards from the low, and will move onto the Capricornia, Wide Bay and southeast Queensland coasts during Thursday.
Thunderstorms are expected to develop near the trough early on Thursday morning.
These thunderstorms may produce localised areas of destructive wind gusts in excess of 125km/h about coastal and island communities.
Heavy rainfall and abnormally high tides are expected to develop during Thursday, with some 24 hour totals in excess of 300mm likely.
A flood watch is current for the Capricornia, Wide Bay and Burnett, Southeast Coast and Darling Downs forecast districts.
Locations which may be affected include Gladstone, Warwick, Gold Coast, Toowoomba, the Lockyer Valley, the Sunshine Coast, Brisbane, Ipswich, Gympie, Bundaberg, and Rockhampton.
EARLIER: A low pressure system that could evolve into a tropical cyclone is at this stage expected to cross the coast north of Gladstone.
The Bureau of Meteorology released a track map of the low pressure system, which is currently about 1150km north north-east of Bundaberg.
The map shows the weather system crossing the coast near Rockhampton as a category 1 system, around 4am on Friday.
Category 1 means gales with gusts of up to 125km/h, with negligible house damage but some damage to crops, trees and caravans.
The forecast path is the bureau's best estimate of the cyclone's future movement and intensity.
Residents are being urged to prepare for severe weather over the coming few days as the tropical low pressure system over the Coral Sea continues to track south-west off the Queensland coast.
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The Bureau of Meteorology issued a severe weather warning early on Wednesday morning, warning of damaging winds, heavy rainfall, high tides and dangerous surf.
The warning takes in part of the Capricornia region, which includes Gladstone.
The bureau says the low has some possibility of developing into a tropical cylone as it shifts south-westwards towards the Queensland coast.
The low is expected to cross the Capricornia or Wide Bay coast early on Friday.
A trough will extend southwards from the low into Capricornia and south-eastern Queensland from Thursday.
A flood watch also is current for the Capricornia, Wide Bay and Burnett and Southeast Coast forecasts districts.
Rockhampton Bureau of Meteorology duty observer Brendan Bradford said there was a moderate (20-50%) chance a tropical cyclone would form off the coast of central Queensland and if it did, it would be named TC Marcia.
"This low pressure system combined with a high pressure system near New Zealand will bring heavy rain falls," Mr Bradford said.
"There is a moderate chance a cyclone will form off the coast of central Queensland.
"It is a fairly disorganised system at the moment but we will keep an eye on it as it starts to organise itself.
"Even if it doesn't form, we will have heavy falls leading to flash flooding.
"The main focus for 24-hour totals at the moment is from Hervey Bay south where 200-300mm falls are expected.
"We could see 24-hour falls in excess of 120mm in Capricornia in the coming days."
Mr Bradford also warned coastal residents to prepare for the effects of a combination of king tides and heavy falls.
"We will see king tides over the next few days."