300km/h cyclone to smash Australia coast

2014-04-11 08:29
Severe Tropical Cyclone along the far north Queensland Coast of Australia. (File, AFP)

Severe Tropical Cyclone along the far north Queensland Coast of Australia. (File, AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

kalahari.com

Sydney - A cyclone packing winds of up to 300km an hour was set to smash into Australia's Great Barrier Reef coast late on Friday, with officials warning the storm could wreak devastation.

The maximum category five Cyclone Ita was expected to hit north of Cooktown, a coastal community of 2 400 people some 1 600km from Brisbane, bringing fierce gales.

"Anything over 80km/h is dangerous," Cook Shire mayor Peter Scott told the Australian Broadcasting Corp.

"Anything over 80Km will put a piece of tin through you and chop your head off, it will lift roofs off, it will make severe damage so the best place to be is staying inside," he said.

Scott said that in the view of one senior police officer in the area, "the Cooktown you see today won't be here tomorrow".

Queensland Premier Campbell Newman warned that homes built prior to 1985 when new building regulations were enacted may not withstand the impact of the storm, and urged residents to head to local cyclone shelters.

"They need to do that this morning," Newman said.

"I urge people who are evacuating to make sure they grab all their... vital personal effects: things like passports, birth certificates.

"That they charge their mobile phone, they switch off the applications, that they take medications, food and water and make sure that they can look after themselves for a few days in the place they're seeking refuge."

Ita sat some 17km northeast of Cooktown around midday (0200 GMT). A warning zone extended from Lockhart River in the far north to Innisfail in the south, and includes the Great Barrier Reef resort hub of Cairns.

Stronger than Yasi

Tropical storms are common in northeast Australia and this one is stronger than the monster Cyclone Yasi system which tore through the region just over three years ago, ripping homes from their foundations and devastating crops.

"Basically this is a very serious cyclone," Andrew Tupper from the Bureau of Meteorology told the ABC. "It's very compact, it's an intense system."

The Bureau of Meteorology expects Ita to make landfall near Cape Flattery some 70km north of Cooktown on the sparsely populated Cape York peninsula around midnight.

It warned that while the strongest winds will be focussed near the eye of the storm, destructive winds, heavy rainfall possibly leading to flash flooding, and coastal inundation from a storm surge all pose threats.

Brendan Cullen, manager of the Sovereign Resort Hotel, one of three hotels in Cooktown, said locals were used to cyclones and had prepared their homes and businesses by taping up windows and securing debris.

But he said there was a level of anxiety ahead of the storm: "We're worried about it landing right on top of us and the storm surge.

"As far as the general feeling in town, it's a windy place anyway so it's not as if there's a lot of debris lying around," he told AFP.

"At this particular junction there's a bit of anxiety. It stands to reason that if it comes this way with those winds... there's going to be some sort of damage in town."
Read more on:    australia  |  weather
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
3 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/News
 

Get fit on a budget

It’s time to throw the “I can’t afford to exercise” excuse out the window.

 
 

Where were you when you last felt alive?

Tips for paddling your first Dusi
Climbing the world’s largest stone arch
Awesome extreme sports people
Watch: 2015 Absa Cape Epic route

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Jobs in Western Cape region

Analyst Developer (Web & PHP)

Cape Town
Communicate Cape Town IT
R32 000 - R42 000 Per Month

Scrum Master

Cape Town
Media24

On-line Digital Specialist

Western Cape
Standing Tall: Recruitment And Advisory a division of Purple Cow Adventures

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Seen something you like in our catalogue?

Find the perfect gift and save up to R5000 – As seen on the catalogue. Hurry and shop now!

Save up to R1000 on Hisense smartphones!

View the large range of Hisense smartphones. Buy today and save up to R1000!

Toys 4 for the price of 3

Buy 4 toys and get the cheapest FREE! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Mind blowing prices – As seen on TV

Get mind blowing prices on 1000’s of products! Shop now.

Deal of the week!

Save R1200 on the Samsung 48” smart full HD LED television now only R8799. Buy now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

You may prefer to be in charge because then you can call the shots. You are not as flexible as you like to make out to be and you...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.