Tropical Cyclone Ita developed in the Coral Sea early this morning, and is likely to intensify further over the coming days in favourable conditions.
Ita is the eleventh tropical cyclone to develop in the Australian region during the tropical cyclone season, and is the seventh to develop in the Coral Sea.
The system initially began over the Solomon Sea several days ago and moved slowly west gradually intensifying, reaching cyclone strength in the early hours of this morning.
Ita is expected to continue on a westerly path over the next few days as it intensifies, and should reach category three strength by Tuesday.
It is not until at least mid-week that the system will pose any risk to the Australian mainland. At this stage, most models indicate Ita making landfall over the Cape York Peninsula, avoiding the largest population centres on the Queensland Coast. However, the system has already caused flash flooding leading to death in the Solomon Islands.
Heavy rain, strong winds and large seas are all a risk as the system approaches the coast and makes landfall.
© Weatherzone 2014
17:48 EST Queensland cotton growers are planting only 20 per cent of the crop they planted last year as the drought continues to take its toll.