Cyclone Ita: Disaster to Strike Cooktown as 2014 World's Strongest Storm Threatens to Wipe Out Town

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By Reissa Su | April 11, 2014 4:43 PM EST

Australia's Queensland is bracing for the arrival of the Cyclone Ita, a Category 5 storm likened to Haiyan and is now being described as the world's strongest storm in 2014. The cyclone is expected to hit the Cape York peninsula on April 11.

Residents in low-lying areas have been advised to evacuate as Cyclone Ita is expected to bring destructive winds.  According to the Bureau of Meteorology, the massive storm will be bringing raging waves in coastal and low-lying areas.  Floods may be expected with the heavy rains brought by the cyclone.

The storm is said to be the strongest storm to hit Australia since Cyclone Yasi which hit in 2011. The weather bureau said Cyclone Ita is a "serious threat" to communities in the north of Queensland coast.

Queensland Premier Campbell Newman had advised people to prepare for the coming storm. He urged them to prepare for a storm surge and high winds that can cause debris to fly around.

Keith Whiting, a resident in Port Douglas, told BBC that he had been taking dead trees down and removing any object that might be carried by the cyclone's strong winds. Mr Whiting said he and his family have prepared a safe room in their house downstairs with water and torches ready.

Late last week, Cyclone Ita had caused severe floods in Solomon Islands that left 21 people dead.

World's strongest storm in 2014

Meanwhile, disaster has been declared in Cooktown as Cyclone Ita is threatening to "wipe out" the town.  According to University of Melbourne Associate Professor Kevin Walsh who also served as the former president of the Australian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society, severe tropical cyclones like Cyclone Ita will bring coastal flooding due to storm surges. Weather reports have described Cyclone Ita as the world's strongest cyclone for 2014.

Wind gusts of Cyclone Ita have surpassed the 280km/hr level to qualify its promotion to a Category 5 storm which is the highest in the scale. Weather bureau forecaster Pradeep Singh said storms like Cyclone Ita are rarely recorded.

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