Update as of 5:37 EST: Cyclone Lam has strengthened to Category 4 as it approaches Australia's northern coast, the country's Bureau of Meteorology said, in its latest weather update. The cyclone is currently moving with sustained wind gusts of about 102 mph.
Cyclone Lam is “expected to weaken during Friday as it moves inland over Arnhem Land,” Australia's meteorology department said.
Tropical Cyclone Marcia has intensified to a Category 4 as it moves toward the coast of Queensland, Australia and is expected to make landfall early Friday. Meteorologists predict that the cyclone will further intensify to Category 5 before it makes landfall in Queensland.
Marcia is expected to cross the coast between Mackay and Gladstone, both located over 340 miles north of Brisbane, on Friday morning. Authorities have issued evacuation orders in the region and have ordered residents to prepare for flash floods. Heavy rainfall is expected in towns and cities along the Queensland border and across Australia's east coast on Friday and Saturday.
The country's meteorology department said that Cyclone Marcia is expected to generate wind gusts of up to 160 mph.
"This very dangerous cyclone is now at category four intensity and continuing to intensify rapidly," the weather bureau wrote in its latest forecast.
“The sea is likely to rise steadily up to a level well above the normal tide, with damaging waves and flooding of some low-lying areas close to the shoreline,” the latest weather update stated, adding: “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 follow instructions regarding evacuation of the area if advised to do so by the authorities.”
Meanwhile, Cyclone Lam, which is currently classified as a Category 3, is expected to make landfall between Milingimbi and Gapuwiyak, located in Arnhem Land, Northern Territory, on Thursday night or Friday morning, Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology said.
The cyclone is moving at a speed of over 124 mph and residents living along the coast between Milingimbi and Nhulunbuy have been specifically warned of a "dangerous storm tide" as the cyclone's center approaches.
— David Wyllie (@journodave) February 19, 2015