SEVERE TROPICAL CYCLONE ITA, CATEGORY 5, poses a significant threat to communities along the far north Queensland coast. At this stage it is expected to move to the southwest and make landfall between Cape Melville and Cape Tribulation later on Friday as a SEVERE CATEGORY 5 TROPICAL CYCLONE with VERY DESTRUCTIVE WINDS near the core and GALES extending some distance from the landfall location.
DESTRUCTIVE WINDS may develop between Cape Melville and Cooktown from as early as sunrise Friday morning before extending inland to Laura and further south to Cape Tribulation and possibly Port Douglas later in the day.
GALES may develop between Lockhart RIver and Cape Tribulation during Friday morning before extending further south to Innisfail and inland to Kalinga, Palmerville, and Laura, and Chillagoe later in the day as the system moves closer to the coast and over land.
Coastal residents between Cape Melville and Cape Tribulation including Cooktown are specifically warned of the dangerous storm tide as the cyclone crosses the coast later on Friday. The sea is likely to rise steadily up to a level which will be significantly above the normal tide, with damaging waves, strong currents and flooding of low-lying areas extending some way inland. People living in areas likely to be affected by this flooding should take measures to protect their property as much as possible and be prepared to follow instructions regarding evacuation of the area if advised to do so by the authorities. Coastal residents between Innisfail and Port Douglas, including Cairns should monitor the situation in case the cyclone takes a more southerly track than expected.