The storm is lashing the Queensland coast with torrential rain, bringing about a significant flooding risk, CNN quoted meteorologists as saying.
The Category 4 cyclone is the equivalent of a Category 3 hurricane and is very slow-moving.
“With the very, very strong winds if they just sit there and twirl, it’s like a battering ram,” Queensland police commissioner Ian Stewart told 7 News Australia.
It has already left a path of destruction through outlying islands.
The storm has already ripped trees from the ground and brought significant rainfall to the region.
Residents reported their apartments shaking and windows breaking. Pristine beaches that were bright and sunny on Monday were completely flooded on Tuesday, weather officials said.
In the span of an hour, 211 mm of rain hit the area, Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said.
It was a “once-in-a-hundred year” event, she said.
The severe weather has claimed the life of a 31-year-old woman in a car crash on Monday near the town of Proserpine.