Tropical Cyclone Kimi forms off northeastern Australia

BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA (AFP) – A tropical cyclone formed off the northeastern coast of Australia yesterday, threatening the tourist hotspot of Cairns with destructive 130 kilometres per hour winds.

Tropical Cyclone Kimi is a Category One storm with sustained winds of 65 kilometres per hour but meteorologists said it may strengthen to a Category Two when it crosses the coast today.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and Queensland Police Commissioner Katarina Carroll track Tropical Cyclone Kimi. TWITTER

The Bureau of Meteorology forecast it was likely to hit between the towns of 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 is a key jumping-off point for visitors to the Great Barrier Reef and the surrounding region is regularly buffeted by cyclones during the southern hemisphere summer.