Category 4 Tropical Cyclone Ita Hits Queensland, Australia
Category 4 Tropical Cyclone Ita powered ashore along Australia’s Queensland coast near 9 pm local time (10 UTC) on Friday with sustained winds rated at 145 mph by the Joint Typhoon Warning Center. Satellite loops show that Ita has weakened considerably since landfall, with the cloud tops in the eyewall clouds warming. Radar loops from Cairns, Australia show torrential rains from Ita are affecting a large stretch of Queensland as the storm track parallel to the coast, just inland. Cape Flattery caught the eyewall, and had sustained winds of 70 mph (10-minute average), gusting to 99 mph. Cooktown recorded sustained winds of 48 mph, gusting to 71 mph. Fortunately, Ita appeared to be undergoing an eyewall replacement cycle at landfall, and was probably weaker than a Category 4 storm when it came ashore. Ita hit a portion of the coast that is relatively lightly populated, and damage should be nowhere near the $3.6 billion price tag of the last Category 4 cyclone to hit Queensland, Tropical Cyclone Yasi of February 2, 2011.
Figure 1. Visible satellite image of Tropical Cyclone Ita taken at 04 UTC April 11, 2014. At the time, Ita was a Category 4 storm with 145 mph sustained winds. Image credit: NASA.
Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.
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