BRISBANE (AFP) - A tropical cyclone formed off the north-eastern coast of Australia on Sunday (Jan 17), threatening the tourist hot spots of Cairns and Port Douglas with destructive winds of 130kmh.
Tropical Cyclone Kimi is a Category 1 storm with sustained winds of 75kmh and gusts up to 100kmh, the national Bureau of Meteorology said in an update.
The Bureau says Kimi could strengthen to Category 2 storm when it crosses the coast late on Monday (Jan 18).
Kimi was likely to hit between Cooktown and Port Douglas, with gale-force winds extending south of Cairns.
Heavy rainfall is also expected in the area, with residents warned of possible flooding.
Queensland Fire and Emergency Services urged people to take advantage of a "limited window of opportunity" to prepare emergency kits for the coming storm.
Cairns and Port Douglas are key jumping-off points for visitors to the Great Barrier Reef and the surrounding region is regularly buffeted by cyclones during the Southern Hemisphere summer.