The weather bureau says Tropical Cyclone Zane is expected to weaken as it approaches the far north Queensland coast.

The category two cyclone is around 450 kilometres east-south-east of Lockhart River and tracking towards Cape York at 14 kilometres an hour.

Senior forecaster Richard Wardle says it is continuing to weaken and likely to be at category one strength when it crosses the coast between Orford Ness and Cape Sidmouth early tomorrow.

"It's moving into an area that has a lot of what we call wind sheer, which can rip the system apart and decrease its intensity," he said.

The bureau says it will still bring heavy rain, gale force winds, and a dangerous storm tide, and that communities from Cooktown to Cape York and Mapoon should remain on alert.

Bureau forecaster Greg Connor says rain from Tropical Cyclone Zane will extend south to Townsville.

"We think the heavier rainfalls will be north of Innisfail or Ingham so that's where the heavy weather will be," he said.

"We'll just get some showers and some cloudy weather which is penetrating the coastal fringe and it'll be a cloudy day."

Mr Connor says there will also be strong winds along parts of the coast.

"We're getting some for strong winds offshore on the Cardwell to Bowen area in the 25 to 30-knot range but inshore winds should be lighter than that," he said.

"We're getting just one or two showers coming onto the coast."

Communities prepare

Far north Queensland communities are bracing for what they hope will be the final cyclone of the season.

Zane is the fourth Tropical Cyclone to form off the Queensland coast since the start of the year.

Ergon Energy says it has crews and aircraft on stand-by to restore power once Cyclone Zane moves across the Peninsula.

Spokesman Mark Timmerman says it is not expecting the storm to have a major impact on its network.

"The primary message to people in those communities at the moment of course is that they should be already prepared," he said.

"We would ask particularly in any of the actual township communities that any yards or businesses are cleaned up of any lose items or any debris that could blow into powerlines."

Mr Timmerman says Ergon Energy is using its experience with Cyclone Oswald on Cape York earlier this year to prepare for Zane.

He says it has three aircraft and crews at Cairns, Mareeba and Cooktown ready to be deployed after the system crosses the Peninsula.

"We're also looking at options to move heavy equipment into those communities if there's any significant impact," he said.

"We're looking at things like getting access to barges and the like to move heavy equipment if we need to get stuff like that up there.

"A lot of the time access into Cape York is a difficult proposition by road so we have to sometimes look at other options."

Lockhart River

The cyclone is expected to cross the coast north of Lockhart River on Cape York late tonight or early tomorrow.

Lockhart River Mayor Wayne Butcher says the community has made final preparations.

"We've had two days sort of cleaning up the community and just making every household aware of what to do - the dos and the don'ts," he said.

"We did a final sort of door-knocking yesterday afternoon.

"We've got Emergency [Management] Queensland here as well, the SES and the local SES crew and also we've got some extra Queensland police in town as well."

Greg Westcott, from Portland Roads north of Lockhart River, says the community is yet to feel any real effects from the approaching cyclone.

"The commercial fishing fleet and local owners of moderately large rivers have all steamed down the Lockhart River," he said.

"They anchor up there for the duration of the cyclone.

"Onshore, we're just taking all the protections - batten down the shutters as we say - but most of us have wooden shutters that protect our windows."

The council responsible for 80 per cent of Cape York says it is hoping Cyclone Zane is not too much of a setback for the upcoming tourist season.

Cook Shire Mayor Peter Scott says authorities have been taking precautions to ensure there are no tourists caught out.

"At the moment there's nobody in the parks up there - national parks haven't got any bookings," he said.

"I got my bloke at Portland Roads, Greg - he had a look at Chili Beach and there's nobody out there.

"I understand that there's no Government workers at Lockhart River - the normal visiting service people - so things are fairly quiet up there.

"Let's hope that it moves on quickly and we can get back to normal."

Councillor Scott is hoping the weather bureau is right in predicting there will not be the widespread heavy rain seen after Cyclone Oswald earlier this year.

"Once the rain's gone our blokes will get out and have a look at the condition of the roads and hopefully get them up and running for the tourist season," he said.

"We'll be working as hard as we can to get roads open and the roads safe for people as soon as possible

"It just depends on the extent of the damage and the amount of rain we get."