UPDATED 3.30PM: TROPICAL Cyclone (TC) Marcia is moving quickly through the Coral Sea towards the Queensland coast, while TC Lam continues its trajectory to make landfall on Northern Territory shores.

Currently a Category 2 storm, TC Marcia’s recent movement has been to the south-west, and it is expected to maintain this general motion through to landfall on the eastern Queensland coast between St Lawrence and Bundaberg early on Friday.

For further TC updates go to the Bureau of Meteorology website or call 1300 659 212.For cyclone preparedness and safety advice, visit Queensland’s Disaster Management Services website.Visit FarmOnline Weather for more updates and informationThe Bureau of Meteorology is predicting TC Marcia will intensify to Category 3 before it makes landfall early Friday morning.

A severe weather warning is current for areas south of Double Island Point and west to the Great Dividing Range.

Gales are expected to develop about coastal and island communities between Mackay and Double Island Point late Thursday afternoon or evening. Destructive wind gusts to 150 kilometres an hour may develop about the coast and islands near the centre of TC Marcia on Friday morning.

Heavy rainfall will develop about coastal and island communities between Mackay and Double Island Point today, particularly over areas to the south of the system. A flood watch is current for the area.

Abnormally high tides will be experienced Thursday and Friday with water levels expected to rise above the highest tide of the year on the high tide.

Coastal residents between St Lawrence and Double Island Point are specifically warned of the dangerous storm tide as the cyclone crosses the coast.

The sea is likely to rise steadily up to a level well above the normal tide, with damaging waves and flooding of some low-lying areas close to the shoreline.

People living in areas likely to be affected by this flooding should take measures to protect their property as much as possible and be prepared to follow instructions regarding evacuation of the area if advised to do so by the authorities.

Dangerous surf is expected to develop about exposed beaches south of Sandy Cape from this morning.

Forecasters predict as much as 100 millimetres of rain will fall in coastal areas from Gladstone to the New South Wales border on Thursday before the skies open up to dump 200-400mm on Friday. Up to 500m is possible in isolated areas.

Preparations began in earnest on Wednesday as the State Disaster Co-ordination Centre at Kedron opened and the State Disaster Co-ordination Group met to discuss its approach.

SES volunteers at Brisbane’s Newmarket depot handed out more than 6500 sandbags with similar numbers at the city’s other four depots.

Councils, emergency services and the State government are calling on residents to get ready for the downpour early.

They’re calling on people to check roofs and guttering, remove loose objects from yards and most of all to keep out of flood waters.

Lifeguards closed several unprotected beaches on the Gold and Sunshine Coasts on Wednesday as the seas became too dangerous to handle.

Gold Coast beaches will be closed from Thursday morning but Sunshine Coast lifeguards are yet to make a decision.

Seqwater Chief Executive Officer Peter Dennis said no dam gate releases were planned for Wivenhoe, North Pine or Somerset dams.

TC Lam upgraded to severeNow a category 3 system, TC Lam is continuing its trajectory to the Northern Territory coast.

Gales with gusts of up to 110 kilometres per hour may develop in coastal areas between Elcho Island and Nhulunbuy during the next 6 hours, extending west to Milingimbi and adjacent inland areas later today and overnight.

Coastal residents between Milingimbi and Nhulunbuy are specifically warned of a very dangerous storm tide as the cyclone centre approaches the coast on Thursday night and into Friday.

Heavy rain may cause flooding of low-lying areas in the northeast Top End on Thursday and Friday.

The Territory Controller advises residents from Elcho Island to Cape Shield, including Nhulunbuy, that public shelters are now open.

– with Jorge Branco

For emergency assistance call the Queensland Fire and Emergency Service (QFES) on 132 500 (for assistance with storm damage, rising flood water, fallen trees on buildings or roof damage).

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