Tropical Cyclone Penny brews into category two system as it moves towards Queensland coast


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Tropical Cyclone Penny ramped up to a category two system overnight, but the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) is confident it will weaken as it approaches the Queensland coast.

In its update at 4:51am on Friday, BOM said Penny was located over the Coral Sea in Queensland's north, about 600 kilometres east of Willis Island.

The latest modelling suggests the cyclone is likely to slow down and then turn back towards the south-west over the weekend. 

BOM forecaster Michelle Berry said the system had moved "well offshore" overnight and was sitting more than 1,000 kilometres off Cairns. 

"It's moved further east-south-east, more south-east in fact, a very far distance away from the coast, so all of its impacts are really well and truly offshore," she said.

Ms Berry said rain was still on the radar for the Torres Strait and Cape York areas over the next few days but . 

"For the areas that saw the exceptionally heavy rainfall through December, areas like Cairns northwards up to Cooktown, they don't have much rainfall occurring at the moment," she said.

"That stretch of coast has certainly seen a big reduction of rainfall compared to what we saw." 

BOM forecaster Harry Clark said there were a number of different possibilities for the system's movements.

He said at this stage the most likely scenario was for it to cross the coast as a tropical low, any time between Monday and the end of next week. 

"Our latest thinking is that it will cross as a low, but that definitely could change," he said. 

"The real uncertainty is with how strong it will be and where exactly along the coast it's likely to head."

Mr Clark said it could cross anywhere from Rockhampton to Cairns, and there was also the chance it would not reach the coast at all.

ABC / weatherzone.com.au

Image - Tropical cyclone forecast track map - Issued Friday 4th January 2018 10:48 am AEST (1:48pm NZDT) - BUREAU OF METEOROLOGY (BOM) http://www.bom.gov.au