Cyclone Owen could hit a remote part of the Queensland coast as early as Friday night, as a severe category four storm packing wind gusts of 280km/h.
Other parts of Queensland are on alert for flash flooding with Owen expected to dump a huge amount of rain along the state's east coast.
The latest modelling suggests Owen will make landfall south of Kowanyama, on Cape York Peninsula's east coast.
"That will be late tonight or early Saturday morning," Dr Richard Wardle, from the Bureau of Meteorology has told reporters.
"With landfall, there will be a significant storm tide for locations along the coast. There will also be heavy rainfall that could lead to flash flooding and very destructive winds."
Dr Wardle also warned there was a risk of flooding in inland communities and along Queensland east coast as Owen weakens into a rain depression and tracks south.
Abnormally high tides that could compound flooding are also expected on the east coast.
Meanwhile, rain and thunderstorms from a separate weather system are expected to affect the southeast corner of the state.
In a sign of how widespread the wild weather will be, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said 29 mayors from across the state were involved in disaster planning.
"Nature has thrown its fair share of natural disasters at Queensland but we all work together and come out of it in the end. Please, over the next 24 to 48 hours, we really need everyone to listen to authorities," the premier told reporters.
Authorities are doorknocking residents in the cyclone warning zone, which covers the Queensland communities of Kowanyama and Pormpuraaw, along with Aurukun, Mornington Island and Karumba.
Authorities have been making sure everyone has a place to shelter, in cyclone-rated buildings.
More than 60 emergency services staff have been sent to Kowanyama and Pormpuraaw, including swift water rescue experts.
Owen is still a category three cyclone, with wind gusts of almost 200km/h. But it's gaining strength as it makes its way east, over the warm waters of the gulf.
Authorities are warning of rainfall tallies between 100 and 400mm over the next few days.
"We expect flash flooding and moderate to major flooding. Flash flooding is that, it will catch you unaware," Queensland Fire and Emergency Services Commissioner Katarina Carroll said.
"Monitor what is happening on traditional and local social media just so you are aware."
Australian Associated Press