CYCLONE Owen has turned for the Queensland coast with forecasters now saying it's likely to make landfall on Saturday.
Owen is still a category three cyclone, with wind gusts of almost 200km/h.
The storm is sitting off the Northern Territory coast but has performed a U-turn and is now tracking slowly east, back towards Queensland.
It could be a category four cyclone, with gusts of 280km/h, when it crosses the Gulf of Carpentaria's southern coastline.
Forecasters had expected that to happen on Friday, but now say a Saturday crossing between Gilbert River Mouth to Pormpuraaw is likely.
"It will approach the coast later on today and into this evening, but it 's now looking like early tomorrow morning," Bureau of Meteorology forecaster Jonte Hall told ABC radio on Friday.
A cyclone warning is in place from Port McArthur in the Northern Territory, to Aurukun in Queensland, including Mornington Island, Karumba, Kowanyama and Pormpuraaw.
The storm is expected to become a rain depression after making landfall, with authorities warning of heavy rain with the potential to cause flooding along much of Queensland's east coast.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk says authorities are worried about the possibility of landslides if heavy rain hits central Queensland, where landscapes have been destroyed by recent bushfires.
But she says authorities are well prepared, both in the cyclone danger zone and elsewhere as the state braces for very wet weather.
Extra rescue and emergency crews have been sent into the cyclone warning area.
Australian Associated Press