Cyclone Ita has formed in the Coral Sea, more than 1000km off Cairns, and is due to intensify in the coming days.

The tropical depression that led to 16 deaths in the Solomon Islands has formed into a cyclone that is heading towards Queensland.

The category one cyclone, called Ita, was more than 1000 kilometres off Cairns on Sunday.

It’s expected to intensify into a category three by Tuesday and is moving towards far north Queensland.

It is too early to tell if it will hit the coast.

“There is the potential for it to become a category four cyclone,” Senior forecaster Brett Harrison senior forecaster told AAP.

The Solomon Islands was lashed by rain last week and Honiara’s main river burst its banks, sweeping away entire communities, bringing down bridges and inundating the downtown area.

About 14 people are missing, 16 have died and tens of thousands are homeless.