The cyclone is now at the highest possible level and is expected to make landfall between Cape Melville and Cape Tribulation on Friday afternoon.

Cyclone Ita has already caused damage in the Solomon Islands, and is expected to cause flash floods with rainfall of up to 400mm and has extremely destructive winds of around 250km/hour.

A warning has been issued for Lockhart River, Cairns, Kalinga, Laura, Palmerville and Mareeba. The Burea of Meteorology says the cyclone is the most severe it has seen since Cyclone Yasi in 2011.

“It has definitely intensified over the last six hours and it is showing a structure with a real evident eye in the centre,” Senior forecaster Andrew Bufalino said.

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