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Queensland in Path of Cyclone Ita

Over the weekend, Tropical Cyclone Ita strengthened as it moved westward through the Coral Sea.

Ita currently contains winds equal to that of a tropical storm in in the Atlantic Ocean. The storm is expected to continue to strengthen as it moves west and then southwest in the coming days.

Ita is expected to strengthen to the equivalent of a hurricane during this time and will then remain at this strength as it approaches the northern coast of Queensland on Friday.

The expected track will take the cyclone into an area north of Cairns, an area known primarily for mining.

Peak winds at the time of landfall could reach as high as 215 kph (135 mph), leading to down trees and power lines with the potential for some minor structural damage.

Rainfall will also be a concern as 50-100 mm (2-4 inches) will be common across the northern half of the Cape York Peninsula with 1-2 inches expected farther down the coast including Cairns and Townsville.

The heaviest rainfall can total more than 150 mm (6 inches) near where Ita makes a landfall and along its track over the Cape York Peninsula.

Ita has the potential to re-emerge over the Gulf of Carpentaria over the weekend which could allow for restrengthening and further impacts to northern Queensland into early next week.