Warnings of wilder weather from Iris

Heavy rain and damaging winds are expected across northern Queensland as a result of Cyclone Iris.
Heavy rain and damaging winds are expected across northern Queensland as a result of Cyclone Iris.

Coastal communities are being warned of wilder weather caused by Tropical Cyclone Iris, ahead of the erratic system's predicted weakening on Thursday.

Officials on Tuesday urged Whitsundays residents to leave their homes as forecasters warned of its potential to form into a category three on Wednesday.

Parts of Queensland hit by Tropical Cyclone Debbie just a year ago are among those in the firing line of Iris, which on Tuesday was some 365km north of Mackay and moving down the coast.

People between Bowen and St Lawrence, including Mackay, were also told to secure boats and property ahead of strong winds.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk was updated on the situation as she chaired a meeting of the Queensland Disaster Management Committee on the Gold Coast on Tuesday.

"No matter what community gets impacted we are all here to help," she said.

State Emergency Services Minister Craig Crawford said conditions were expected to be less severe than Tropical Cyclone Debbie.

"We believe it's going to sit around the Whitsunday region for a couple of days and then head further out to sea," he said.

Residents of Cairns and Townsville, which will host Commonwealth Games events later this week, appear to be in the clear, but are being urged to keep a close watch.

A watch zone is in place from St Lawrence to Yeppoon.

Australian Associated Press