Home > News > World
Thursday April 10, 2014 MYT 1:35:02 PM
Thursday April 10, 2014 MYT 1:36:08 PM
by james regan
SYDNEY (Reuters) - Tourists and coastal residents were evacuating parts of the Great Barrier Reef on Thursday as a powerful cyclone intensified in the Coral Sea and made its way towards Australia's northeast.
Cyclone Ita is forecast to make landfall on Friday north of the tropical city of Cairns, bringing with it the possibility of
widespread flooding and damage, emergency officials said.
Wind gusts of up to 280 kmh (175 mph) are forecast, bringing with them torrential rain, according to the Australian Bureau of Meteorology said.
"The sea is likely to rise steadily up to a level which will be significantly above the normal tide, with damaging waves, strong currents and flooding of low-lying areas extending some way inland," the bureau said.
The storm was still classified as a tropical depression when it barrelled across the Solomon Islands late last week, killing at least 23 people near the capital, Honiara, according to the United Nations.
In Australia, rescue helicopters have been sent to find and warn people in remote regions about the approaching storm. Campgrounds have been ordered to close and islands near the coast evacuated.
A Great Barrier Reef resort located on Lizard Island 240 km (150 miles) north of Cairns confirmed it had evacuated all its guests on Thursday.
The storm's projected course should take it across a sparsely populated section of Queensland state around 2 a.m. British Time on Friday, spreading over an area of about 400 km (250 miles).
Queensland Premier Campbell Newman said up to 9,000 people could be affected by the cyclone, including residents and visitors in Port Douglas, a favourite vacation spot for many international tourists.
Energy minister Mark McArdle said Ita was potentially the most powerful storm to threaten the region since Cyclone Yasi three years ago. He said residents should be prepared to face the loss of electricity for a month or longer.
Cyclone Yasi caused an estimated A$3.5 billion in property damage and lost tourism earnings when it ripped through Queensland in February 2011.
Powerful hurricane Odile buffets Mexico's Baja, thousands evacuated
Australia raises threat level to 'high' on Iraq, Syria
Insight - U.S. scouts for Sunni allies on the ground in Iraq
Australia answers U.S. call to join coalition fighting Islamic State
Tense stand-off in Pakistani capital as political crisis deepens
Pakistani Islamists use floods to turn opinion against India
Ryan Gosling, Eva Mendes welcome baby girl: reports
Floods, storms and quakes uproot 22 million in 2013, numbers to rise
Chinese envoy says North Korea's Kim Jong Un may visit Beijing - Yonhap
Exclusive - South Korea's Park says door open for talks with North
Hong Kong media magnate Jimmy Lai in visit to anti-graft agency
Friendly Down Under
Actor James D’Arcy will join Marvel’s ‘Agent Carter’ series
Microsoft to spotlight new Windows software September 30
Copyright © 1995-2014 Star Publications (M) Bhd (Co No 10894-D)