A TROPICAL depression, which left at least 16 people dead in flooding in the Solomon Islands, has developed into a cyclone and may reach far north Queensland by the end of the week.
Tropical Cyclone Ita has formed over the northern Coral Sea, but remains more than 1000 kilometres off the Australian mainland and poses no threat to the Queensland coast for at least the next few days.
Meteorologist Rob Sharpe, from Fairfax Media-owned Weatherzone, said Ita was slowly tracking in a westerly direction and was expected deepen into a Category 3 cyclone before crossing the Cape York Peninsula on Friday or Saturday.
''It could start having influence on the Australian mainland from late Thursday, but more likely on Friday or Saturday,'' Mr Sharpe said.
''There's quite a bit of uncertainty beyond the next three, four, five days. Tropical cyclones seem to have a mind of their own, so it's quite difficult to forecast them, particularly at this range.''