Updated: Warnings issued as Cyclone Iris strengthens

UPDATED: Tropical Cyclone (TC) Iris has continued to gain strength and remained off the north Queensland Coast as a category two storm on Tuesday morning.

Some forecasters were predicting Iris would further intensify and become a category three system by Wednesday morning.

The Bureau of Meteorology reported it was unlikely TC Iris would cross the Queensland coast, but its presence would continue to be felt with wind gusts of up to 140km/h.

RACQ’s Kirsty Clinton warned residents from Bowen to Mackay to expect destructive winds and potentially heavy rainfall.

“Wind and rain is forecast to increase Tuesday and continue through Wednesday,” Ms Clinton said.

“While the cyclone isn’t expected to cross the coast, residents shouldn’t get complacent about the very real risks of the weather which comes along with TC Iris.

“Take the time now to remove any debris away from your home and bring inside or secure outdoor furniture.

“Locate your emergency kit and talk to your family about your emergency plan should you lose power or need to evacuate.

“Also, take a moment today to check on your neighbours, particularly the elderly, to make sure they’re prepared.”

EARLIER: The Bureau of Meteorology will be closely monitoring Tropical Cyclone Iris which has formed off the coast of Townsville on Monday morning.

The system was 340km off Townsville and was expected to move southwards towards the coast during Monday.

The Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) has predicted heavy rain, which may lead to flash flooding, was also expected particularly betweeen Ayr and Sarina from Monday evening.

RACQ’s Lauren Ritchie warned six hour rainfall totals of 50 to 100mm were likely, with local falls up to 200mm possible.

“There is still a lot of uncertainty around the system and where it will move,” Ms Ritchie said.

“Now is the time to be making preparations to your home and ensuring damage from last time a cyclone visited are cleared, or at the very least won’t cause further damage.

“We can’t stress enough when roads are flooded or closed don’t attempt to cross them.”

BOM forecaster Diane Eadie said there was a flood watch issued for coastal catchments between Rollingstone and Sarina.

“Whilst it won’t have a direct impact in crossing the coast it’s still going to get really windy and we are going to see increased rainfall around those parts in the next 48 hours.”