A cyclone is making landfall over Queensland, Australia with winds of up to 145 mph expected, together with heavy rain and a storm surge which is likely to cause disruption for coastal communities.
Forecasts have been successfully predicting the track of Cyclone Ita for several days which has allowed time for preparations – including evacuations from the areas directly in its path. Landfall is expected near Cape Flattery, about 130 miles north of Cairns.
Whilst Ita is making landfall over a relatively unpopulated part of Queensland and some weakening is expected, it is likely that the cyclone will turn south and move parallel to the coast before moving back over the ocean. Thus population centres further south such as Cairns, Innisfail and Townsville may see some impacts from the cyclone.
Ita is the strongest cyclone to make landfall over Queensland since Cyclone Yasi in February 2011. Yasi caused extensive flooding and wind damage in the region just south of Cairns.
Regional warnings for Cyclone Ita are produced by the Bureau of Meteorology. The Met Office routinely supplies predictions of cyclone tracks from its global forecast model to regional meteorological centres worldwide, which are used along with guidance from other models in the production of forecasts and guidance.
Met Office StormTracker provides a mapped picture of tropical cyclones around the globe with access to the history of their respective storm tracks. There are also forecast tracks from the Met Office global forecast model out to six days ahead for current tropical cyclones, as well as the latest observed cloud cover and sea surface temperature. We also provide updates on current tropical storms via @metofficestorms on Twitter.