Cyclone Ita Update: Could Develop into Category 4 Tropical Cyclone by Friday Morning
By Esther Tanquintic-Misa | April 8, 2014 4:15 PM EST
Already upgraded into a category 3 system, Weather Bureau forecasters on Tuesday predicted that Tropical Cyclone Ita would even strengthen further into a category 4.
As of 11:15 am on Tuesday, it was located 970km northeast of Cooktown in the Coral Sea. The Bureau of Meteorology said Cyclone Ita could strengthen to a category four storm by Friday morning.
Rain drops on a car window reflect a woman walking past a stock index board in Tokyo April 3, 2014. Asian shares hovered near four-month highs on Thursday as upbeat U.S. data underpinned risk appetite, while news China is taking steps to stimulate its economy spurred Tokyo's Nikkei to a three-week peak. The image was rotated 180 degrees. REUTERS/Toru Hanai
"At the moment it's near-stationary," forecaster Lauren Murphy told AAP. "We anticipate it starting to move west soon."
Weather Bureau forecasters said the potential impact could be close to Cape Melville around the Princess Charlotte Bay region. "Unfortunately it does look like it's going to continue to develop," Weather bureau spokesman Bill O'Connor said.
Category 4 cyclones can contain wind gusts of up to 279km/h which can significantly cause structural damage.
Peter Scott, Cook Shire mayor, said the local disaster management group has started getting ready for any potential onslaught to the communities in Cape York.
"You can't be too sure what it's going to do," he said. "We're a little bit concerned about this one when you look at its legacy it left behind in Honiara, [the Solomon Islands capital].
Cyclone Ita is expected to start dumping massive heavy rain across the region by Thursday.
"We haven't had a cyclone in Cooktown since 1949, so there's a reason for being complacent," Mr Scott said, "But then, the next one could be around the corner."
And Cyclone Ita could be it.
"Cyclones are things you can rarely get used to,'' Peter Opio-Otim, Lockhart River Council chief executive, said.
"We just don't want to be caught off balance and we're telling people what each adult needs to do to minimise impacts.''
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