Cyclone Owen now a category 2
UPDATE: Tropical Cyclone Owen is now at Category 2 intensity and is forecast to strengthen further over the southern Gulf of Carpentaria.
Owen was over the southern Gulf of Carpentaria at 10am and is expected to be slow moving during Wednesday.
On Thursday Owen is then forecast to change course to move eastwards and back towards the Queensland coast. It may reach category 3 intensity by Thursday morning if conditions remain favourable.
A coastal crossing along the southeast Gulf of Carpentaria coast between Burketown to Pormpuraaw during Friday afternoon is most likely.
According to The Bureau of Meteorology Cape Shield in the Northern Territory, to Burketown in Queensland, including Groote Eylandt and Mornington Island are in the cyclone warning zone.
Other areas likely to be affected are Burketown to Pompuraaw in Queensland, including Pormpuraaw, Kowanyama and Karumba, all of which are in the BoM designated 'watch zone'.
BoM predict Tropical Cyclone Owen will increase in intensity overnight, to Category 3 intensity by around 4am.
EARLIER: Cyclone Owen has redeveloped into a category 1 system and is expected to further intensify.
The Bureau of Meteorology advised TC Owen had once again reached cyclone strength at 8.21pm.
The bureau said Owen was north northwest of Mornington Island was expected to move steadily westwards tonight.
The bureau advised it may reach a category 3 system by Thursday.
Over Wednesday and Thursday TC Owen is expected to slow down and then move east to the Queensland coast.
TC Owen is quickly gaining strength, with heavy rain and strong winds whipping up a potentially destructive weekend as the system heads back towards North Queensland.
Tropical Cyclone Owen has re-developed into a category 1 system in the southern Gulf of Carpentaria and is forecast to intensify further. #CycloneOwen https://t.co/rVLE6inkt8 pic.twitter.com/Zl9IUzPtxA— Bureau of Meteorology, Queensland (@BOM_Qld) December 11, 2018
Sky News Weather senior meteorologist Tristan Meyers said residents should prepare for flash flooding and damaging winds towards the end of the week.
The Bureau of Meteorology is forecasting 120 to 200mm of rain for Townsville on Saturday.
"The key message here is this system is strengthening rather quickly, so the next 48 hours we could see a Severe Tropical Cyclone Category 3," Mr Meyers told the Bulletin.
"Owen will then make a U-turn again towards the eastern side of the Gulf and head towards the coast.
"The system will then run parallel or near parallel to the coast, so it will catch very populated areas (with rainfall and wind)."
Mr Meyers said he wouldn't rule out falls of 100mm and higher on Saturday.
"What it will do for Ross River Dam - which is at 62% capacity right now - will be welcome; the heavy rainfall we can expect to boost those levels," he said.
Owen strengthens in the gulf and combines with a powerful front in the southeast to cause a significant and widespread rain event.— Sky News Weather (@SkyWeatherAUS) December 11, 2018
Sky News Weather Senior Meteorologist Tristan Meyers has the details.https://t.co/0oKnIZKQjO
He warned residents to prepare their properties now.
"Owen has come back to life strengthening again and more powerful than it has been so it's a significant event," Mr Meyers said.
"Not only will it be wet, it could be very windy as well so we could see trees and powerlines down and people need to treat every powerline as if it's live.
"Driving conditions aren't going to be very good for this period of time … remember, if it's flooded forget it."
BOM state manager for Queensland Bruce Gunn said a flood watch was already in place for catchments in the Gulf of Carpentaria and southern Cape York Peninsula.
"This is an evolving situation, with the potential to be a high-impact event so it's important that the community follow official warnings on the cyclone's forecast track and associated impacts including flooding, damaging to destructive winds and storm activity," Mr Gunn said.
"With many people travelling during the school holidays, we are urging the public to stay tuned for updated warnings, be aware of local conditions and always follow the advice of local emergency services."