Reona Hallinan (18) enjoys the rain at the end of the Southern breakwater
Reona Hallinan (18) enjoys the rain at the end of the Southern breakwater Emma Murray

Storms to hit late Sunday as Owen dips into Coral Sea

TROPICAL Cyclone Owen is predicted to track west and cross over the Far North Queensland coast and drift into the Coral sea over the weekend, resulting in showers and isolated thunderstorms in Mackay.

The relatively slow moving system was predicted to develop into a category 4 tropical cyclone by the time it crossed the coast in the early hours of Saturday morning.

Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) forecaster Amber Raman said yesterday that Owen was expected to continue moving in a south-easterly direction. She said he was projected to cross into the Coral Sea as a low pressure system by Sunday evening or early Monday morning.

Ms Raman said there was a moderate, 20 to 50 per cent chance of Owen reforming into a cyclone for a third time early next week.

This is a significant change to earlier forecasts which predicted that Owen would track along the east coast as a tropical low.

Ms Raman said cyclones were notoriously difficult to track and "the story can change, but at this stage the likely forecast is it will move over the Coral Sea".

The unpredictability of Owen's movements will bring volatility to Mackay's weekend forecasts.

BOM predictions show the worst of the weather will hit tomorrow, with isolated thunderstorms potentially dumping in excess of 250mm in some areas.

The BOM is warning Mackay residents to stay up to date with forecasts and to be prepared for isolated severe weather conditions.