Lets Check Out the Damage So Far – Cyclone Ita



Cooktown – that large piece of tin is the roof from the pub which is a good few kilometers away from this spot

Even though Cyclone Ita was downgraded to a Category 4 as it hit the coastline it did some fairly impressive damage as it swept its way inland travelling south-westerly. Winds have dropped from 300 km/hr to 180 km/hr according to the last update but the rain and winds are still an issue.

So far the Cape and the surrounding islands have suffered the most damage at the hands of Ita but it was still strong enough when it got to Cooktown last night to make quite the impression according to reports that are coming in.

It may no longer be a category 4 or 5 but the winds are still more than enough to make a very large mess as it moves down the coast.

Poor Pub - but the tap works and the kegs are full so all is right with the world according to some locals

Poor Pub – but the tap works and the kegs are full so all is right with the world according to some locals

I do want to share a funny little aside that I saw on the coverage of Cooktown this morning.  The old Cooktown pub took a great deal of damage and in fact lost its entire roof and rear section.  This however was not the primary concern of the locals who ventured outside into the rain to see what damage had occurred overnight.  The first question some of the townsfolk asked was not about the power or damage to homes, oh no we Aussies have our priorities and so the first building to be checked was the pub and the first question asked was ‘Is the tap for the beer still working and did the cold room survive’.

We’re a tough lot, those of us who live in the Northern parts of Queensland and as funny as that question may seem to outsiders it was meant with deep sincerity and concern. Once informed that the tap did work and the cold room had remained intact [the owner actually stayed at his pub instead of the storm shelter – to protect alcohol] everyone calmed down and just started talking about clearing the debris around it and having a cold one.

Beach front property with a view of the ocean that just can't be beat.

Beach front property with a view of the ocean that just can’t be beat.

Further up the coast we can find some brand new beach front properties with a view that just can’t be beat. The question is of course is are they so close to the water due to the storm surge and high tide moving the water line just a little inland or did they appear out of the cyclone overnight in a manner reminiscent of Dorothy in Oz. We’re still waiting for more images of the damage in Cooktown but the loss of power and cell towers makes information harder to get in and out so far.

Strong winds and heavy rain as Cairns waits for Ita now downgraded to a Category 2

Strong winds and heavy rain as Cairns waits for Ita – now downgraded to a Category 2

The worst seems to have passed for the far North and Cooktown but the storm system is now heading at a steady pace toward Port Douglas, Cairns and Townsville,  bringing with it storm surges, high winds and heavy rain.  Power is out in the far north and not expected to be back on in under 4 weeks and flooding is expected in towns along the coast over the next 48 hours.


44 thoughts on “Lets Check Out the Damage So Far – Cyclone Ita

    • I’m on the coast and while I do live in North Qld it is more the beginning part of the Far North. We’re getting trashed with rain and winds which will last for the next day or so but we’re not in the danger zone for Cyclone Ita.

      Plus its gone from a Category 5 last night to a 4 early this morning and now it is about a 2. In Mackay we have to worry more about what will happen in the next 3 or 4 days as they are predicting flooding from the storm surges and run offs from the Daintree and Pioneer Rivers.

      We may lose power for a week or so if the winds take out the lines but you don’t live in North Qld without an emergency kit for the monsoon season which goes from December to April.

      We’ve survived the bad storms, flash flooding as well as Cyclone Yasi and Cyclone Larry [both category 4’s] so while it is a little scary at times it’s nothing I haven’t seen before. Although having your barbecue fly through the bedroom window is an experience.

      Which is why as soon as the warnings were given we brought everything inside that was not secured this time. Just the price you pay to live in the tropics and along the coastline.

      Liked by 1 person

      • My god you live in a wild and wooly part of the world… In California we get an earthquake from time to time… Yikes! Well stay safe and hold on to your family… You better be here tomorrow:)


      • Where to all the snakes go when your area flood…? You better leave your door closed.. You Australians are a tough bunch. I’m still surprised you have possums and we have possums but no squirrels..
        They chew our phone wires to sharpen their teeth… This I get work:)


      • They move under the house or into the trees or roofs. Not much fun if you live on a property and all the natives come in close to escape flood or fire. Even in the burbs you get an influx of a few native critters during such times. The animal rescue people are out, pulling is koalas’ etc trapped by rising flood water as well as anything else they come across.


      • Yep – the lady next door has one male that uses her backyard gums as his base, but he roams about a 2 to 3 block radius as his territory. In towns they need a larger space to roam as there are less gum trees whereas in actual bush areas it is a much smaller but denser area. Also if you live anywhere near the Eucalyptus groves you’ll see them in family groups. Wombat are harder to spot as they have burrows rather than live in trees. – Oh I did a post of a snap someone took of a King Brown leaving town – thought you may want a look as you were asking about them.


      • Is a wombat a bat or that thing with big eyes.. Hey they reported a 8.5 earthquake near the Solamon islands..isn’t that around you. Be careful of tsunami’s.. Your animals are so different than the ones here.. We have an occasional mountain lion or coyote.. No wombats… Koalas walking about.. Funny.. I love it.. Are they meek animals in the wild? What do brown snakes munch on?


      • Wombats – ummm ok think oversized beaver with a weigh problem that makes earth burrows – oh minus beaver tail and very grumpy.

        Meek isn’t what I would call any of the animals that have to share space with humans. As a general rule if it looks cute take a picture but don’t touch or they’ll rip your arms etc to shreds [people forget the whole climbing trees, digging burrows etc require sharp claws]

        Brown snakes eat – pretty much whatever the hell they want, birds small animals, eggs etc. Pythons eat depending on their size anything from possums to crocodiles even young cattle or sheep but only every 2 or 3 weeks as it takes them time to digest.

        Having a medium size one in the roof is handy as it eats the bats, mice, other snakes, possums etc.

        I think the quake in the Solamons is why further North is still having trouble with winds and rain as it has stirred things up again. We’re just getting rained on down where I am now. It’s the monsoon season so that’s fairly normal.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah by the time it was moving over land it was starting to break down – but the winds are still enough to worry about. Down here we only have to worry about the possible flooding in a few days if the heavy rainfall keeps swelling the rivers and run offs up north.


  1. Thanks Jenni, I’m glad it was downgraded, but that’s not much of a downgrade at all. My thoughts continue to your side of the world.
    And of course you gotta preserve the booze. 🙂


    • It’s just such an Aussie thing to do – museum lost its roof – ho hum, town hall badly damage – aint that sad, industrial area demolished – well it was a bit of a mess but the pub is damaged quick run and make sure the tap for the beer kegs in the bar of the now roofless pub are working.


  2. Thanks for this, Jen. I saw your comment earlier and was going to ask how high the winds were that they settled down to 157km/hr… but I wasn’t expecting 300! WOW!
    Glad you’re safe and the beer survived! They’ll need it for the cleanup!


  3. Thanks for the update, Jenni, and I hope you get your very big nap now. 🙂
    The pub story is hilarious. Love it very much! 🙂
    I think I am going to reblog this post to spread the good humour.


  4. Reblogged this on auntyuta and commented:
    Thanks for the update, Jenni, and I hope you get your very big nap now. 🙂
    The pub story is hilarious. Love it very much! 🙂
    I think I am going to reblog this post to spread the good humour.


  5. lol at the priorities!

    That sounds very similar to attitudes up this way in Darwin. Providing no one has been injured, get in, do the hard yakka and then sit down for a beer. Shame I don’t like beer!.. I’d be asking if we could get lemonade on tap!

    Cooktown copped a bit of a hammering 😦

    Thanks for keeping us updated!



  6. Glad to hear you’re safe Jenni. Thank you for the updates. The pub story is hilarious – the little human touches that get us through the disasters in life. Is every one OK in Cooktown? ‘m surprised that ot will take 4 weeks to get all the power back – where does the power come from and how come so long to get it back? The closest we’ve ever had to that here in Ottawa was an icestorm (continuous freezing rain that falls for a long period when the temp is below feezing and turns ot ice on everything it hits) that caused a power loss in some places for two weeks. That was because so many transmission towers and lines and poles were destroyed from the weight of the ice that half the infrastructure had to be rebuilt. Is that a similar probem there (infrastructure loss) or has a power plant or two been destroyed?

    What about supplies? Are the roads clear enough that trucks can get through with food/water and building and construction materials and equipment? It must be a long supply line. Are the water suppies safe? And do you have insurance for this kind of damage? Over here unless you specfically buy insurance for storms or earthquakes, etc, it is considered an act of God and is not normally covered.

    Sorry about all the questions, I’ve never lived in a climate zone with huge storms like the one you just lived through. I wish you the very best in coming days when you see the extent of the damage and casualties and flooding.

    Be safe Jenni. We look forward to coming updates.


    • From what we’re hearing in Mackay there was no loss of life in Cooktown but unfortunatly the cyclone took out a substation which is not an easy thing to fix in the middle of the tropics during the monsoon season. The army and SES worker will be in the air as soon as it is possible to collect people off roofs and out of trees as well as to make supply drops to those who are cut off due to flooding.

      Insurance does cover damage caused by these systems but the problem is in the past decade major storm systems have been wreaking havoc so in some areas no insurance agent will give you more than basic cover or if they do the premiums are ridiculously high.


  7. Just wanted to say I really enjoy your reporting style, and in this piece, most particularly enjoyed your creative lines about the new beachfront properties. Thanks for the smiles. Glad you were/are okay.


    • Thanks – the danger was more for those closer to the far north than we are, we’re just getting the rains and tail winds here although I’m pretty sure it will flood over the next day or so. Thanks for your good wishes. Jenni


  8. I went through Hurricane Andrew in south Florida in 1992. It hit as a category 5 storm. It devastated the part of Miami/Dade County that I grew up in. Our house survived with some minor roof damage, but so many people lost everything. I’m glad you’re ok.


    • I’m glad that it appears no lives were lost where the storm hit although many were left homeless. We just have to get through the flooding over the next few days. We’re up north but not far enough to have been in a direct path – just the winds and rains.

      I’m glad you survived with min. damage in 1992 and thank you for your good wishes. Jenni


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