Cyclone!...What Cyclone????

Port Douglas
Port Douglas

Far north Queensland residents had a last-minute reprieve from destructive winds as Tropical Cyclone Olga dropped in intensity shortly before crossing the coast.

Olga crossed the coast north of Port Douglas at about 2pm (AEST) on Sunday as a category one cyclone, far weaker than the category two system, with winds of up to 140km/h, that had been expected.

"We haven't had strong winds over land, however there have still been some fairly strong winds further out to sea," forecaster Tony Auden from the Tropical Cyclone Warning Centre in Brisbane said.

There was little evidence of cyclonic activity in Port Douglas as Olga passed over. Shops and restaurants remained open, while the band played on at the local Court House Hotel.

Authorities said the cyclone caused little damage and congratulated north Queensland residents for their preparations for the bad weather.

"After the cyclone crossed the coastline there was little to no requests for assistance to the State Emergency Service (SES) however this could possibly change with heavy rainfall expected to continue in the region over the coming hours," Emergency Management Queensland (EMQ) regional director Wayne Coutts said in a statement.

"In total SES personnel across Far Northern Region responded to 38 requests for assistance through the day, these included jobs such as leaking roofs and sandbagging.

"Communities in north Queensland should be congratulated for their ability to take advice from emergency authorities and be adequately prepared for what could have been a much larger weather event."

The Bureau of Meteorology has warned residents between Cooktown and Mackay to expect heavy rainfall as Olga and ex-cyclone Neville continue to lash the north Queensland coast overnight.

Premier Anna Bligh said rainfalls of up to 300mm in some regions were predicted and localised flooding could be expected.

"We're also expecting very strong winds, particularly damaging to older buildings and we do have teams on standby," she said.

Ex-cyclone Neville was about 200km east of Cardwell and expected to move towards the coast between Townsville and Innisfail.

Heavy rain and localised flooding are expected on Sunday night and Monday.

The Bureau of Meteorology has issued a severe weather warning for the north tropical coast and tablelands and central coast districts between Innisfail and Mackay.

Mr Auden said Olga was expected to weaken to a tropical low as it continued across Cape York, but the system was likely to reintensify as it crossed the Gulf of Carpentaria on Tuesday.

"As it gets over water again we expect it to strengthen, he said.

A cyclone watch is current for the southern Gulf of Carpentaria coast and islands from Karumba to Borroloola.