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cycloneCYCLONE Ita is intensifying and could turn in to a category 5 by the time it hits the Queensland coast.

2.10pm: Cyclone Ita has hit Category 4, with winds to 280km/h.

It was about 410km northeast of Cooktown and 380km east northeast of Cape Melville at 2pm and increasing speed to 16km/h.

Destructive winds may develop between Cape Sidmouth and Cooktown as early as tomorrow morning before extending inland to Laura and further south to Cape Tribulation later in the day.

Gales are expected almost 200km out from the cyclone’s eye.

1.40pm: Cyclone Ita is now expected to cross the coast near Cape Flattery, north of Cooktown, about 7pm tomorrow, pushing a combined storm surge and waves of about 2.7m.

It will then turn south, travelling as a low before veering back into the Coral Sea on Sunday where it may again reform into a cyclone.

Forecasters say computer modelling of the storm’s path is starting to firm up after a confusing week in which projections on its landfall have varied from the tip of Cape York to about Cairns.

This is very late in the season for a cyclone to be around and could effect port calls in the Cairns region for next week. Batten down the hatches and stay safe!