The very destructive core of tropical cyclone Debbie is forecast to cross the coast between Townsville and Mackay on Tuesday morning with wind gusts potentially to 240 km/h near the centre of the system.
Northeast Australia is bracing for the arrival of a "monster" cyclone expected to bring waves of up to 8m (26ft) in height to the Queensland coast.
NOAA's National Hurricane Center notes that a storm with this intensity has "extremely unsafe winds will cause extensive damage: Well-constructed frame homes could sustain major roof and siding damage".
She said the farming region had never experienced a storm stronger than Category 2, which packs wind gusts of between 125 and 164 kph (78 and 102 mph). Those on remote islands with no adequate shelter to withstand the cyclone have been urged to evacuate.
The BoM has not ruled out the possibility the storm could intensify into a category five.
Lydia Buchtmann from the Food Safety Information Council also has some advice - "Prior to a cyclone, make sure you have a stock of non perishable foods in cans and packages, as well as a manual can opener", Buchtmann says.
Rail operator Aurizon said unloading of coal trains has already ceased at the ports of Abbot Point, Dalrymple Bay and Hay Point.
Cyclones are a way of life in North Queensland.
"This'll be the biggest cyclone we've ever seen but we're all boarded up and will stick it out", resident Darrell Locke told The Courier-Mail.
"I understand up north today the weather conditions are fine, everything is calm and there are blues skies".
"The ferocity and intensity of these winds is going to be gradually increasing", Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk told Sky News on Tuesday.
Up to 25,000 more in low-lying parts of Mackay were urged to head to higher ground.
Palaszczuk said police went door-to-door Monday attempting to get people to leave their homes.
Ms Hahling said she was confident the supermarket wouldn't run out of stock completely thanks to a delivery truck arriving on Saturday and another expected on Monday, but non-perishables were being snapped up and may be sold out.
"There are 800 resources - Ergon, Energex and contractors in position, mobilizing or available to respond to this event while Energex crews and trucks left Brisbane this morning for North Queensland", Energy Queensland chief executive officer David Smales said in the release.
Local Eddie Woods said he was prepared but undeterred, having lost count of the number of cyclones he has lived through since the 1940s.