In just a few hours, Tropical Cyclone Ita will hit the coast of Australia. The authorities are warning people, that the cyclone already gained on its power in the last few hours. There is a big risk of the east coast devastation. Tourists and residents have already been evacuated from parts of the Queensland coast as the cyclone moves closer to making landfall.
The worst is expected in Queensland but rescue teams are also afraid that the storm will hit Cooktown with full force and devastate it completely. At the moment, the storm is a Category 4 but is rapidly developing into Category 5. Human lives are also in grave danger. Rescue teams are preparing for the strong storm and extensive flooding, warning people to move to safety. “This is an extraordinary event and there is a big probability that the cyclone will claim lives and severely damage areas in north Queensland,” said Minister Jack Dempsey. “We are preparing for the worst possible scenario in the case of high tides,” he added. The sea level may rise as two meters higher than normal value. Dempsey is advising people to help each other and to take care of the most vulnerable. It is also very important that people in the most affected areas keep in contact with families and friends. Since Cyclone Yasi in 2011, Tropical Cyclone Ita is the most threatening storm which is approaching the Queensland coast.
Australian Meteorological Organization estimates that near Cape Melville and Cooktown, the cyclone will reach Category 5, which means that the wind can exceed 160 miles per hour. The wind with such speed can uncover the roofs and even destroys buildings. Despite all that, Australia is still hoping that Tropical Cyclone Ita will slow down, lose some power and hit the coast more weakened today. Since the storm is very compact, it has been difficult to predict its exact tract. Rapid intensification of the storm was not fully anticipated, but there are some indications that it may weaken before coming ashore. If it does not weaken significantly, it will become one of the most intense storms ever recorded to hit Queensland.
Lee Johnson, head of the rescue teams in Queensland, is asking citizens to try to understand that there may be a moment when, due to strong winds and other factors, their teams will not be able to respond to their calls. “There will be a moment when even rescuers will have to find shelter,” he said, adding that it is therefore extremely important that people ensure access to safe place before the storm hits. Since the residents had a limited timeframe to prepare for the upcoming storm, they are now rushing to ensure their homes and emergency kits. It is also very important that they are well stocked with essential supplies: food, water, medications, first aid supplies, warm clothes, sleeping gear, valuables and important documents. Tropical Cyclone Ita, which surprised meteorologists when it rapidly developed into a fierce and compact storm, is confirmed to be a storm which could do enormous damage on the east coast of Australia.
By Janette Verdnik