An emergency storm tide alert has been issued for parts of Townsville's waterfront as an extensive storm bears down on north Queensland.
There's a cyclone warning current for every town and city between Port Douglas and Mackay as the huge tropical low barrels towards the coast.
The system, about 590 kilometres northeast of Townsville, is forecast to form into a cyclone before it makes landfall on Friday morning.
The Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) is warning people to batten down as the storm will likely bring heavy rain, a dangerous storm surge and pack winds of up to 120km/h.
A king tide as high as 4.12 metres is forecast to hit the coast on the same morning the storm reaches land.
On Wednesday an emergency storm tide alert was issued for parts of Townsville.
The council has released a map of a Red Zone where people are likely to be affected by the storm surge.
Queensland Fire and Emergency Services Commissioner Lee Johnson urged people living in the zones to prepare their properties and listen to advice from authorities.
"Whilst the advice from the bureau this time is that it will be a low category if it does form, we're still going to get very, very strong winds, certainly flooding rains and on the coast damaging wave action," he told reporters.
BOM also urged coastal residents to prepare for a dangerous storm tide on Friday morning.
"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 help their neighbours," the forecaster said in a statement.
Large areas are expected to see daily rainfall totals of 100-200mm between Wednesday and Friday, with some local falls of up to 400mm possible.
There are also flash flood warnings for all coastal rivers between Port Douglas and St Lawrence.
The state disaster management group will meet on Wednesday afternoon, and local disaster management groups have already mobilised.
Local Government Minister David Crisafulli and another minister are expected to head north on Wednesday.
"We will be keeping a very close look on what's going on," he said.
"We will just have to see how this develops."