The Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) is monitoring a low in the Gulf of Carpentaria that could develop into the fourth cyclone of the season, with forecasters also expecting a mixed bag for Queensland's weather this Australia Day.
The bureau said three cyclones had developed around Australia this season, with the current low to be named Cyclone Lucas if it did develop into a tropical cyclone.
The low has formed about 120 kilometres east of Nhulunbuy in the Northern Territory and is slowly moving east/south-east through the Gulf of Carpentaria.
BOM forecaster Pieter Claassen said there was a 20 to 50 per cent chance it could develop into a cyclone on Wednesday.
"At the moment, we have a tropical low in the Gulf of Carpentaria and conditions are currently favourable for that low to develop," he said.
"There is a moderate chance of that low being of tropical-cyclone strength on Wednesday.
"If that low does remain over water, it is favourable for it to continue to develop as we see the monsoon trough over northern Queensland — and over northern Australia more broadly — strengthen over the next few days."
A strong wind warning was current for the north and south-east Gulf of Carpentaria and coastal erosion caused by abnormally high tides was likely to impact areas.
Mr Claassen said there was also some activity in the Coral Sea due to the northern monsoon trough but it was unlikely the systems there would turn into tropical cyclones.
"We do have a couple of weak tropical lows out in the Coral Sea which we are keeping an eye on at the moment," he said.
"We're not expecting those to develop significantly over the next few days and we do still have a very low chance of seeing a tropical cyclone in our part of the Coral Sea over the next three days."
Australia Day forecast a mixed bag
The BOM has predicted rain, storms and heat across Queensland for Australia Day, with showers expected in the south-east, and above-average temperatures in the west.
"For south-east Queensland, we're going to see some morning showers around coastal districts but it will become more sunny during the afternoon period," Mr Claassen said.
"There's a very slight chance we'll see a lingering shower in the afternoon but it will generally be a bit more of a cloudy morning with some morning showers giving way to a sunny day.
"It will generally be quite a warm day, average to slightly above average for south-eastern Queensland, so Brisbane is forecast to be 31 degrees Celsius, Surfers Paradise is 29C and coastal parts of the Sunshine Coast will be 29C as well.
"As we head further inland in the south-east coast, it does [begin] to creep a bit more above average, so Gatton is forecast at 34C which is close to 3C above average for January."
Temperatures inland of the coast are predicted be above average, with Toowoomba on the Darling Downs set to reach the high 30s.
Mr Claassen said the rest of the state was also likely to see above-average temperatures, with Townsville and Cairns expected to reach around 32C with a low chance of showers.
"For central Queensland, it is getting increasingly hot — there are a number of locations that are forecast to reach over 40C tomorrow," he said.
"We do see a trough slowly drifting eastward which brings a little bit of moisture with it, so there is a very slight chance of seeing some afternoon showers and thunderstorms over central and western Queensland."
Heatwave continues in south-west
Mr Claassen said the Cape York Peninsula was expected to have a wet, cloudy and windy Australia Day, with monsoon conditions likely to intensify in the next few days.
"We have already seen daily rainfall figures over 100 millimetres over parts of the peninsula in the past few days and that's likely to continue as we see an increase in the monsoon flow," he said.
"It's associated with the strengthening of the low in the Gulf of Carpentaria."
The BOM said Queensland's south-west was experiencing low heatwave conditions, with overnight temperatures reaching four to 5C above average.
"There's no real respite during the daytime and night time from those hotter temperatures and that's what makes it a heatwave," Mr Claassen said.
"That heatwave does migrate eastward over coming days, so [it will be] more towards the central districts like Longreach, Maranoa and Warrego districts from mid-week."ABC