Young men ride skateboards through pools of water formed by
heavy rain before Cyclone Ita makes landfall in Port
Douglas. Photo Getty Images
Tropical cyclone Ita has weakened as it moves inland from
Cooktown on Queensland's far north coast, with emergency
services now assessing damage in the area.
The Bureau of Meteorology on Saturday morning downgraded Ita
to a category two cyclone - from a category four when it hit
the coast - as it tracks south across the state.
At 6am (AEST) the cyclone was 20km southwest of Cooktown and
160km north of Cairns and moving at 8km/h, BoM said.
The forecaster said a cyclone warning was current for coastal
areas from Cape Melville to Cardwell including Cooktown, Port
Douglas and Cairns, and extending inland to areas including
Mareeba and Chillagoe.
BoM said destructive winds of up to 130km/h were possible
between Cape Tribulation and Port Douglas "for a brief period
Gales with wind gusts of up to 110 km/h were possible between
Cape Melville and Port Douglas, as well as in areas including
Mareeba later today, and as far south as Innisfail, Chillagoe
and Cardwell this evening.
BoM warned coastal residents between Cooktown and Cairns,
including Port Douglas, of a storm tide this morning, and
said heavy rain could lead to flash flooding in parts of the
Peninsula, North Tropical Coast and Tablelands districts.
Daryl Camp from Emergency Management Queensland says
emergency crews were assessing the damage in Cooktown.
"We're hoping to be able to do that fairly quickly this
morning, we've got two crews doing rapid damage assessment
and two crews doing cleanup and trying to see if anybody
needs assistance," Mr Camp told ABC Radio.
He said it would be safe for people to leave their houses and
shelters when the winds died down about 9am or 10am.
"But we'll have to wait and see what Ita has done," he added.
Ita crossed the coast near Cape Flattery, with winds near the
centre up to 230km/h, about 10pm on Friday.
By midnight, Ita had been downgraded to category three with
winds gusts up to 117km/h had recorded in Cooktown just after
At least one roof was torn from a house in Cooktown, which
was battered by strong gales and heavy rain.