The Bureau of Meteorology says cyclone Ita is weakening quickly as it moves across Queensland, bringing with it strong winds and rain.

Tropical cyclone Ita is weakening quickly as it tracks across Queensland’s far north, the Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) says.

Ita was a category four cyclone as it crossed the coast near Cape Flattery about 9pm on Friday, but has been downgraded to a category one as it moves south across the state.

The weather bureau’s Ken Kato said Ita was about 85 kilometres south of Cooktown and was moving south about nine kilometres per hour.

He said the cyclone was weakening and was likely to be downgraded to a tropical low later on Saturday.

“We’ve always anticipated that. Once it starts moving over that rugged terrain a bit inland of the coast it’ll weaken fairly quickly – that’s what’s happening,” Mr Kato told AAP.

“It should continue weakening as it moves south over that type of terrain.”

He said the cyclone would head out into the Coral Sea somewhere off the north tropical coast in the next few days.

Cyclone warnings are current for coastal areas from Cape Melville to Cardwell, including Cooktown, Port Douglas and Cairns, and extending inland to areas including Mareeba and Chillagoe.

Damaging winds with gusts to 120km/h are possible south of Cooktown to Port Douglas for a brief period on Saturday afternoon, BoM also advises.

Coastal residents south of Cooktown to Cairns, including Port Douglas, are also being warned of a storm tide on Saturday.

Heavy rain, which BoM warns may lead to flash flooding, is buffeting parts of the North Tropical Coast and Tablelands districts.

BoM says the rain should gradually contract southwards with the system over the weekend.

Authorities had been warning Ita could be the worst cyclone to hit Queensland since Yasi three years ago, but damage appears to be less serious than expected.