(Bloomberg) -- Australia’s far north coast is bracing for a cyclone that’s expected to bring damaging winds, heavy rainfall and potential flooding to an important tourism region. 

Tropical Cyclone Jasper, currently a category 1 storm, is forecast to intensify as it approaches the Queensland state coast and make landfall close to tourism hotspot Port Douglas as a category 2 system on Wednesday, according to a notice from the Australian Bureau of Meteorology.

The cyclone will most likely weaken as it moves inland, but a slim chance remains of a severe category 3 crossing, the agency said. Parts of the coast are on flood watch, it added. 

The cyclone warning comes as the country grapples with an increasing number of extreme weather events from bushfires to storms, along with the onset of an El Niño weather event that’s exacerbated hot and dry conditions in much of the country. Over the weekend, thousands were left without power in parts of South Australia state following a confluence of hot weather, thunderstorms and wind. 

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The last cyclone that crossed the Queensland coast as a severe storm was Debbie in March 2017, which made landfall as a category 4 storm. It devastated resort islands and tourist towns, and led to major flooding. 

Australia’s cyclone season typically runs from November to April, and the bureau is expecting a below average number of tropical storms in 2023–24. 

--With assistance from Ben Sharples.

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