Cape York communities brace for Cyclone ItaBy Kristy Sexton-McGrath and Kirsty Nancarrow, Wednesday April 9, 2014 - 06:36 EST
Communities in far north Queensland are preparing for Tropical Cyclone Ita that is expected to cross the coast later this week.
Cyclone Ita has intensified into a category two system and is about 1,000 kilometres north-east of Cairns.
It is expected to intensify into a category three system as it moves closer to the coast.
Weather forecaster Greg Connor says it is likely to cross the coast between Cooktown and the Torres Strait as a category three cyclone by Friday.
"It's looking quite impressive on the satellite pictures at the moment, with quite a big outflow and we are expecting to resume a westerly track today and by Friday to be near the coast," he said.
Cook Shire Mayor Peter Scott says the local disaster management group is ensuring agencies are well prepared.
"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].
Councillor Scott says the shire has had a large influx of new residents over the past few years that may not have experienced a cyclone.
"It's the complacency of new residents and even those who have been here a long time and nothing has happened - that's the thing that we've got to battle all the time - that complacency and that blase attitude that 'it may not happen to us'," he said.
"We haven't had a cyclone in Cooktown since 1949, so there's a reason for being complacent but the next one could be around the corner."
The cyclone is expected to start bringing heavy rain across the region by Thursday.
© ABC 2014
More breaking news
A 90-minute downpour has seen Darwin record more than twice as much rain as usual for the entire month of May.
A deep cold front has swept through Melbourne and parts of southern Victoria, uprooting trees and damaging buildings with wind gusts of more than 100 kilometres per hour (kph).
Despite a promising start to the wet season, many Top End cattle stations are entering the dry season with The bulk of the season's rain came with a monsoon trough which moved over the Northern Territory in , with little follow-up rain throughout January and February.