A tropical low expected to form in the Gulf of Carpentaria this week is expected to bring rain to the Far North. Ian Edwards from Bungalow gets in some casting for prawns at the Barron River boat ramp in Stratford as storm clouds build up around the city. PICTURE: STEWART McLEAN
A tropical low expected to form in the Gulf of Carpentaria this week is expected to bring rain to the Far North. Ian Edwards from Bungalow gets in some casting for prawns at the Barron River boat ramp in Stratford as storm clouds build up around the city. PICTURE: STEWART McLEAN

Drenching likely as Gulf cyclone takes shape

Far Northern residents have been warned to expect heavy rainfall from today with a low weather system in the Gulf of Carpentaria due to turn into a cyclone this week.

Bureau of Meteorology forecaster Kimba Wong said there were "favourable conditions" for cyclone development from Friday.

She said the low would probably form in the Arafura Sea or Gulf of Carpentaria before moving towards the northern Coral Sea as early as Wednesday.

Depending on whether another system off the West Australian coast developed first, the cyclone over the Far North would be called either Gretel or Harold.

"We're expecting that monsoon low to become a little bit more established over the coming days," Ms Wong said.

"We also expect there to be a low forming by Wednesday. That low pressure system will travel eastwards over the northern peninsula and out to the Coral Sea.

"From Friday there are favourable conditions for cyclone development. There's still a bit of uncertainty as to where it'll go, but most likely it will head out east over the Coral Sea.

"From today any thunderstorm will bring the chance of dropping a large amount of rainfall. We'll start to see that clear off from Saturday …"

Up to 20mm of rain was forecast for today and tomorrow. The bureau also forecast 30mm to 80mm of rain for Cairns on Thursday, followed by 25mm to 100mm on Friday.

The impending cyclone has also prompted a flood warning for townships between Cape Yorke and Mackay. "Catchments within the Flood Watch area are relatively wet from rainfall … and will therefore be more responsive to heavy rainfall, with riverine flooding possible from Wednesday," the warning read.

The Jardine, Archer and Coen, Lockhart, Endeavour, Daintree, Mossman, Barron, Mulgrave and Russell, Johnstone and Tully river catchments could be affected.