A tropical cyclone is heading towards the Cape York Peninsula of northern Queensland, Australia.

Named Zane, this system is currently lying to the east of the Great Barrier Reef, heading westwards at 9kph.

It is expected to make landfall between Oxford Ness and Lockhart River at approximately 18GMT on Wednesday.

Zane has formed at the end of the tropical cyclone season which runs from November 1 to April 30.

If, as expected, Zane strengthens to become a category three system, with sustained winds of 119 to 133kph, it will be the fifth such system this season. Only Narelle (January 5 to 15) and Rusty (February 22 to 28)  attained category four status with sustained winds between 159 and 181kph.

Despite ‘only’ being categorized as a ‘one’, Oswald (January 17 to 19) caused severe flooding across the Northern Territory, Queensland and New South Wales, killing 6 people and causing an estimated $US 2.5B worth of damage.

Although Zane is expected to batter the peninsula with winds initially as high as 130kph, it is the rainfall which is expected to cause the greater concern.

Up to 100mm could fall in some areas and this is likely to cause flash flooding.

This is the first time that a tropical cyclone will cross the peninsula since Severe Tropical Cyclone Monica in April 2006.  Because of its slower movement, Monica dropped over 300mm but Zane is expected to be moving into the Gulf of Carpentaria by 06GMT on Thursday, weakening as it does so.

Zane is likely to cause further flooding across northern portions of the Top End, but it will quickly weaken into a tropical depression before dissipating in the Arafura Sea.

Source: Al Jazeera