April 11, 2014

Severe Tropical Cyclone Ita Heads For Australia

A report from the Australian Government Bureau of Meteorology Tropical Cyclone Warning Centre in Brisbane this morning warns that:

SEVERE TROPICAL CYCLONE ITA, CATEGORY 4, poses a serious threat to communities along the far north Queensland coast. It is expected to continue to move in a general south-southwest direction and make landfall near Cape Flattery tonight with VERY DESTRUCTIVE WINDS to 275 kilometres per hour near the core and GALES extending out to 185 kilometres from the centre.

DESTRUCTIVE WINDS with wind gusts in excess of 125 kilometres per hour are currently occurring at Cape Flattery and should develop elsewhere between Cape Melville and Cooktown this evening, extending south to Cape Tribulation overnight and possibly to Port Douglas during Saturday morning. GALES are occurring between Cape Melville and Cooktown and should extend south to Cape Tribulation this evening and inland to Laura and Palmerville overnight. Gales may extend south to Cairns and Innisfail and inland to Chillagoe during Saturday, and possibly to Cardwell later in the evening.
There remains the small possibility that Ita could track south close to the coast tonight and maintain an intensity capable of generating destructive wind gusts to 150 kilometres per hour in Cairns during Saturday.

Here is the current forecast track for Severe Tropical Cyclone Ita,

Forecast track for Severe Tropical Cyclone Ita at 5:55 pm EST Friday 11 April 2014

Forecast track for Severe Tropical Cyclone Ita at 5:55 pm EST Friday 11 April 2014

As you can see Ita has recently reduced in intensity from Category 5. Here's the view of Ita from the Aqua satellite at the moment, where you can just make out the "eye of the cyclone" just offshore when the image was recorded:

Severe Tropical Cyclone Ita on Friday 11 April 2014

Severe Tropical Cyclone Ita on Friday 11 April 2014

Regarding the potential storm surge and flooding,  the Bureau of Meteorology had this to say:

Coastal residents between Cape Melville and Cape Tribulation, including Cooktown are specifically warned of the dangerous storm tide as the cyclone crosses the coast tonight. 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.

Very heavy rain, which may lead to flash flooding, is developing about parts of the Peninsula and North Tropical Coast and Tablelands districts and should gradually contract southwards with the system over the weekend.

Here is the current swell forecast for Queensland, courtesy of the MagicSeaweed surf forecasting web site:

Magic Seaweed swell forecast for Northern Australia on Friday 11 April 2014

Magic Seaweed swell forecast for Northern Australia on Friday 11 April 2014

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Comments on Severe Tropical Cyclone Ita Heads For Australia »

April 11, 2014

Jim @ 9:52 am

The latest Australian Government Bureau of Meteorology tropical cyclone advice bulletin about Ita, issued at 7:52 pm EST on Friday 11 April 2014, says that:

A Cyclone WARNING is current for coastal areas from Coen to Innisfail including Cooktown, Port Douglas and Cairns, and extending inland to areas including Kalinga, Palmerville, Mareeba and Chillagoe.

A Cyclone WATCH is current for coastal areas from Innisfail to Cardwell, extending to adjacent inland areas.

At 8:00 pm EST Severe Tropical Cyclone Ita, Category 4, was estimated to be 80 kilometres north northeast of Cooktown and 240 kilometres north of Cairns, and moving south southwest at 11 kilometres per hour.

SEVERE TROPICAL CYCLONE ITA, CATEGORY 4, poses a serious threat to communities along the far north Queensland coast. It is expected to continue to move in a general south-southwest direction and make landfall near Cape Flattery in the next couple of hours.

Jim @ 11:00 am

The latest Australian Government Bureau of Meteorology advice bulletin about severe tropical cyclone Ita, issued at 9:11 pm EST on Friday 11 April 2014, says that:

At 9:00 pm EST Severe Tropical Cyclone Ita, Category 4, was estimated to be 65 kilometres north of Cooktown and 230 kilometres north northwest of Cairns, and moving south southwest at 12 kilometres per hour.

SEVERE TROPICAL CYCLONE ITA, CATEGORY 4, is crossing the coast near Cape Flattery with VERY DESTRUCTIVE WINDS to 230 kilometres per hour near the core and GALES extending out to 185 kilometres from the centre. The cyclone is expected to continue moving southsouthwest overnight and gradually weaken.

Jim @ 12:42 pm

The latest Australian Government Bureau of Meteorology high seas weather warning, issued at 13:02 UTC on Friday 11 April 2014, says that there is a:

HURRICANE FORCE WIND WARNING FOR NORTH EASTERN AREA

SITUATION
At 1200 UTC Severe Tropical Cyclone Ita was centred on the coast near Cape Flattery within 10 nautical miles of
latitude fourteen decimal nine south (14.9S)
longitude one hundred and forty five decimal three east (145.3E)
Recent movement : south southwest at 5 knots
Maximum winds : 90 knots
Central pressure: 955 hPa

AREA AFFECTED
Within 100 nautical miles of centre.

FORECAST
Maximum winds to 90 knots near the centre easing to 55 knots by 0000 UTC 12
April.

Winds above 64 knots within 15 nautical miles of centre with very high to
phenomenal seas.

Winds above 48 knots within 40 nautical miles of centre with high seas and
moderate swell.

Winds above 34 knots within 100 nautical miles of centre with very rough seas
and moderate swell.

Forecast positions
At 0000 UTC 12 April: Within 35 nautical miles of 16.1 south 144.8 east over land
Central pressure 978 hPa.
Winds to 55 knots near centre.
At 1200 UTC 12 April: Within 60 nautical miles of 17.4 south 145.0 east over land
Central pressure 999 hPa.
Winds to 35 knots near centre.

Jim @ 1:13 pm

The Cairns Local Disaster Management Group have advised:

That people living in RED and ORANGE storm tide inundation zones should evacuate now.

Residents who can stay with friends or family in higher places should do so. AS A LAST RESORT those who have no alternative accommodation are advised they can travel to one of the following Storm Tide Cyclone Shelters:

  • Edmonton Leisure Centre on Walker Road, Edmonton
  • Redlynch State College shelter building, Jungara Road, Redlynch

Storm tide surge evacuation maps are available from:

http://www.cairns.qld.gov.au/cyclone-emergency-information/evacuation

Up to the minute information can be viewed on the Cairns Disaster Coordination Centre Facebook page.

https://www.facebook.com/CairnsDCC

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