AUSTRALIA – Powerful Tropical Cyclone Ita (pronounced “EYE-tuh”) made landfall in northeast Australia near Cape Flattery in the Queensland state late Friday night, local time (around 7 a.m. U.S. EDT). Tropical Cyclone Ita made landfall with 10-minute average sustained winds around 105 mph between 9 and 10 p.m. local time, according to the Australia Bureau of Meteorology. This would equate to a Category 3 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale, after adjusting this wind speed to an equivalent one-minute sustained wind used as a standard in the U.S. Ita has since weakened as it continues moving inland. Coastal communities in northeast Australia such as Cooktown, Port Douglas and Cairns will all continue to see impacts from Ita’s center as it turns south into Saturday. Cape Flattery measured a peak wind gust just shy of 99 mph at 9 p.m. local time Friday, and had already picked up over three inches of rain from Ita’s outer rainbands and eyewall before observations ceased there around 10 p.m. According to the Cairns Post, roof damage was reported to the James Cook Museum in Cooktown, as well as to several homes in the town. The peak wind gust clocked, there, was 76 mph. Cooktown had also picked up roughly 5.5 inches of rain from Ita as of early Saturday local time. Strong winds, heavy rain and flooding are also possible over interior sections of northeast Australia as Ita spins down over northeast Australia Saturday into Sunday. Bands of heavy rain will wrap into the coast as far south as Bowen and Hamilton well ahead of the center of circulation, raising the threat of rainfall flooding. The Weather Channel
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