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Wild weather smashes the east coast as millions are woken up by rattling windows and torrential rain with monster cyclone looming off Queensland – here’s when the storm will hit your area

  • Tropical cyclone Gabrielle intensifying off Queensland 
  • Expected to turn into a severe category-three cyclone 

Wild weather has brought a brutal end to our brief taste of a sunny Aussie summer as Tropical Cyclone Gabrielle intensifies into a dangerous category-three storm.

Emergency services on Norfolk Island said on Wednesday they had activated their cyclone response plan after the tropical low formed into Cyclone Gabrielle.

The Bureau of Meteorology expects Gabrielle to intensify into a severe category-three cyclone packing winds of between 165km/h and 224km/h on Thursday.

The storm, which formed on Wednesday, is forecast to remain offshore but bring large waves and strong winds to exposed coastal areas of Queensland and northern NSW before passing near to Norfolk Island at the weekend.

‘The community is advised to familiarise themselves with the alert levels and consider what action they will take if the cyclone threat is continuing,’ the island’s emergency management team said.

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Island residents have been warned of an extended period of gale-force winds, with heavy rainfall and damaging surf also possible depending on the movement and intensity of the storm.

Norfolk Island is on high alert after Tropical Cyclone Gabrielle intensified

Norfolk Island is on high alert after Tropical Cyclone Gabrielle intensified

Another tropical low near the Cocos Islands, northwest of WA, has a low chance of forming into a cyclone and continues to be monitored.  

The Bureau of Meteorology declared Tropical Cyclone Gabrielle had formed in the Coral Sea, about 690km northeast of Mackay on Wednesday afternoon.

‘Gabrielle is forecast to continue to track to the south during the rest of Wednesday and then southeast from Thursday, remaining well offshore of the Queensland east coast,’ the Bureau reported. 

On Saturday, Gabrielle is likely to approach Norfolk Island and is forecast to pass Norfolk Island on Sunday.

The island could face sustained wind speeds of 89-117 km/h and typical gusts over open flat land or seas of 125-164 km/h.

‘It promises to be a nervous few days for the 2200 residents of Norfolk Island, as a dangerous tropical storm develops in the Coral Sea and tracks southward,’ Weatherzone meteorologist Anthony Sharwood said.

Cyclone Gabrielle forming Potential tropical cyclone on the coast

Cyclone Gabrielle forming off the coast

The cyclone forced a cruise ship to turn back on Wednesday Potential tropical cyclone on the coast

The cyclone forced a cruise ship to turn back on Wednesday Potential tropical cyclone on the coast

The Carnival cruise ship Luminosa was forced to change direction on Wednesday following the cyclone’s development.

The cruise ship was expected to reach Lifou, New Caledonia, on Wednesday but was instead forced to head to Brisbane.

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In a letter to guests, Carnival Luminosa captain Carmelo Marino said the ship had to change course to remain at a safe distance from the tropical cyclone.

The Carnival cruise ship Luminosa was bound for New Caledonia but instead turned back to Brisbane

The Carnival cruise ship Luminosa was bound for New Caledonia but instead turned back to Brisbane

‘Regrettably, given the forecasted path of the storm, we will not be able to deliver our planned South Pacific itinerary,’ Mr Marino said.

He said the team was attempting to plan a trip to Moreton Bay this Friday, weather permitting.

Passengers on-board have been offered a credit of $200 per stateroom to spend on the cruise along with an extended 50 per cent off future cruise credits. 



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