The Bureau of Meteorology’s latest forecast for Cyclone Ita shows it’s unlikely to dip below cyclone strength and will head out to sea once more.
Cyclone Ita is unlikely to drop below cyclone strength despite making landfall 19 hours ago, the Bureau of Meteorology has warned.
A cyclone warning issued at 5pm (AEST) shows Ita will remain at category one strength and will head out into the Coral Sea near Innisfail in the early hours of Sunday morning.
The bureau predicts Ita will remain at category one strength at least until 5pm (AEST) on Monday on a south-easterly track that runs roughly parallel with the Queensland coast.
Ita roared ashore about 9pm on Friday as a severe category four cyclone, forcing hundreds of people at Cooktown and nearby Hope Vale to take refuge in cyclone shelters.
At 5pm on Saturday, Ita was estimated to be 20km south-southwest of Port Douglas and 45 kilometres west-northwest of Cairns, moving south southeast at 11km/h.
It is likely to move southeast close to or just off the coast for the next 24 hours, with damaging winds with gusts to 120km/h likely between Port Douglas and Cairns for the remainder of Saturday.
A storm tide is expected between Cape Tribulation and Cairns.
Large waves may produce minor flooding along the foreshore.
Heavy rainfall that may cause flash flooding is falling in the coast and ranges between Port Douglas and Ayr, and should extend south to about Yeppoon during Sunday. Isolated 24-hour totals of more than 300mm are likely.
The Insurance Council of Australia (ICA) has declared a catastrophe in parts of north Queensland affected by Ita.
ICA chief executive officer Rob Whelan said the ICA has established a recovery taskforce and initiated a disaster hotline to help policyholders unsure of their insurer with general inquiries about claims.
“This is an emerging natural disaster situation and the full extent of the damage may take many weeks to determine. However, the general insurance industry has already geared up to ensure it responds swiftly and appropriately,” he said.
The ICA hotline is 1800 734 621.