A category five cyclone around Tonga could see beaches along Queensland’s Sunshine Coast and Gold Coast closed over waves reaching three metres high.
The tropical cyclone, south of Fiji, is combining with a high-pressure system that will cause a ‘large and powerful easterly swell,’ James Thompson, a meteorologist for the Bureau of Meteorology, said.
‘Waves will increase to about two-and-a-half to three metres going into the weekend, and hold until Monday,’ he said.
Mr Thompson said it would be a dangerous time to be out in the surf, as there would be little wind, and otherwise warm weather.
‘You’ll go to the beach thinking it’s a nice day, which is why it can be so dangerous for people going out in the surf or on their boats,’ he said.
‘The conditions will be quite nice, and that’s where the danger kicks in.’
The area is expecting an extended heatwave until the end of the week.
The Bureau labelled reports the cyclone itself could hit Queensland as ‘rubbish’, and said the weather event was very far from Australia.
A spokesman for Surf Life Saving Queensland said lifesavers make the decision to open or close a beach each morning.
‘Surf lifesavers and lifeguards will continue to closely monitor surf conditions over the coming days and particularly leading into the weekend.
‘If the swell significantly increases, or conditions deteriorate, to the point where there’s a risk to public safety, surf lifesavers and lifeguards will close the beach.
‘If that occurs, the beach will remain closed until surf lifesavers and lifeguards are confident that conditions have improved.’
Australia is sending $350,000 worth of emergency equipment to Tonga after Cyclone Gita battered the Pacific nation.
A Royal Australian Air Force Globemaster will leave on Tuesday night to deliver emergency tents, food and hygiene kits to help 2000 people in need.
There are no confirmed reports of deaths from the cyclone, but some people were injured and Tonga’s parliament was flattened.