Australia avoids worst of Cyclone Ita but more wind, rain due
Saturday 12 April 2014
Australia's northeast escaped the worst of a tropical cyclone that was expected to wreak havoc and bring dangerous storm tides after it weakened and was downgraded on Saturday.
There were no reports of injuries and while power was cut to some communities and buildings sustained some damage, there were no reports of major damage to infrastructure, authorities said.
"I am greatly relieved that at this time we've had no reports of either death or injury," Queensland Premier Campbell Newman said.
Even though tropical Cyclone Ita was downgraded from a Category 5 storm to Category 1, Newman urged residents to stay at home or in shelters as wind gusts of up to 75 miles per hour and heavy rain were still forecast for some areas.
Shortly before noon, the storm was estimated to be 50 miles southwest of Cooktown and 70 miles northwest of the tourist city of Cairns, the weather bureau said.
The cyclone was mild enough that tourists at Port Douglas, Queensland were able to enjoy it
It is expected to further weaken as it moves south and turn into a tropical low as it heads back out over the Coral Sea late on Saturday.
The storm, the strongest to approach the Queensland coast in three years, was classified as a tropical depression when it marched across the Solomon Islands late last week, killing at least 23 people, according to the United Nations.
While the heavy rain may be welcomed in parts of northeast Queensland where drought has been forcing farmers to slaughter record numbers of animals as grazing land has wilted, sugar farmers, who grow about 95 percent of the sweetener produced in Australia, are expecting crop losses.
Early reports posted on the industry body Canegrowers' website showed crops being hit with high wind and heavy rain. Cairns region grower Andrew Greenwood said the some of his cane had been hit and would not start to grow again for three to four weeks.
Cyclones in Australia are measured from 1 to 5, with 1 the weakest and Category 5 with winds exceeding 175 miles per hour.
- 1 Autistic teenager beaten up by bullies makes them watch 20-minute video about autism
- 2 Greece debt crisis explained: A history of just how the country landed itself in such a mess
- 3 People all over the world are getting semicolon tattoos to draw attention to mental health
- 4 Greek debt crisis: Yanis Varoufakis's funniest (and most memorable) quotes
- 5 Swedish minister gives strongest case yet on why EU should stop turning away asylum seekers
Autistic teenager beaten up by bullies makes them watch 20-minute video about autism
Greece debt crisis explained: A history of just how the country landed itself in such a mess
German conservatives are destroying Europe with austerity, says economist Thomas Piketty
Man dies instantly after shooting firework from top of his head
Isis schoolgirl Amira Abase who fled London to join terrorists in Syria mocks victims of Tunisia massacre
More Britons believe that multiculturalism makes the country worse - not better, says poll
Osborne to cap family benefits at £23,000 – announced ahead of his post-election Budget
Nathan Collier: Montana man inspired by same-sex marriage ruling requests right to wed two wives
Forget little green men – aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert
Girl, 7, stares down hate preacher at Ohio festival with pro-LGBT rainbow flag gesture
Sickness and disability benefits could be reduced by £30 a week as part of £12bn welfare cuts
£16000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They are looking for individual...
£25000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Project Coordinator is requir...
£40000 - £95000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...
£20000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Trainee Vehicle Inspectors / Pu...