NE Australia: Ports shut as Cat 5 Cyclone due to hit tomorrow
As reported by the BBC.
The storm is expected to hit the Cape York peninsula late on Friday night, bringing very destructive winds.
It was expected to bring damaging waves to some low-lying areas, the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) said, and heavy rain could cause flooding.
It is the strongest storm to hit since Cyclone Yasi, which struck in 2011.
Cyclone Ita was expected to make landfall between Cape Melville and Cape Tribulation "as a severe category five tropical cyclone with very destructive winds near the core and gales extending some distance from the landfall", the BOM said.
Coastal residents were also warned of a "dangerous storm tide" as the cyclone crossed the coast.
Gales could extend 190km (118 miles) out from the centre of the storm, it said, potentially affecting several towns including Port Douglas, a popular tourist hub north of Cairns.
Queensland Premier Campbell Newman urged people to be ready for the storm.
"The big concerns people need to prepare for are a storm surge, which means in low-lying areas water much higher potentially than normal tides," he said.
"The other big concern of course will be the normal high winds that can cause debris flying around, which people need to prepare for and... very intense rain causing quite severe local flooding."
Cyclone Ita brought torrential rain to the Solomon Islands late last week, causing flash floods that left at least 21 people dead.
Yasi struck the Queensland coast three years ago as a category 5 cyclone, leveling sugar crops and swamping coal mines in a state that was already saturated by flooding, adding to a natural disaster bill of A$6.8 billion ($6.4 billion). Emergency service workers including flood boat operators will be sent to Cooktown and Cairns, about 1,390 kilometers (864 miles) northwest of the capital Brisbane, according to the government.