Waves recorded at the Queensland town of Mackay are reaching record heights as tropical Cyclone Debbie whips up ferocious seas.

Queensland Government monitoring found waves more than eight metres in height had been recorded early this morning, according to news.com.au.

The waves will likely be the third highest waves ever recorded at this location.

The highest wave of 10 metres was recorded on January 30, 2014 at 7.30pm, while the second highest wave was 9.4 metres on 21 March, 2010.


Until this morning the record for the third highest wave of 8.5 metres was set in 1997, on March 9.

Mackay is about two hours south of Bowen, close to where Cyclone Debbie is expected to make landfall.

A cyclone watch zone remains in place for Mackay residents and extends from Lucinda to St Lawrence.

The Category 4 cyclone is already causing havoc on the Whitsunday Islands and coastal towns including Airlie Beach. Hamilton Island residents have reported winds "like freight trains".

The Bureau of Meteorology has also warned of heavy rain along the far north and central Queensland coast.

"Abnormally high tides are also expected to occur between at least Lucinda and Mackay as the cyclone approaches the coast," BOM meteorologist Andrea Peace said.

"Large waves may also develop along the beachfront so coastal inundation is likely and those highest waves will be on the southern side of the cyclone."