Cyclone forces evacuations in Queensland

Evacuations have begun in northern Queensland in anticipation of Tropical Cyclone Debbie which is expected to hit on Monday.

The storm, which has already forced the evacuation of more than 5000 residents in low-lying areas, is due to hit between Townsville and Mackay.

"It feels eerie and weird, but [I've] got to protect everything and if it's going to be bad, you've done the most you can do," says resident Jenny Papale.

The powerful system is currently a category two storm stationed around 270 kilometres out to sea.

Queensland Premier Anastasia Palaszczuk says the cyclone will have a big impact on the area.

Police say the cyclone has already claimed one life, causing a two car collsion that killed a tourist.

Queenslanders have seen out several cyclones before, but authorities say this one could be the biggest since cyclone Yasi in 2011 and are urging people not to be complacent.

Cyclone Debbie is expected to intensify overnight before arriving on land as a category four storm.