Generator units deployed to Cooktown for impending cyclone
ERGON Energy was deploying eight high capacity generator units to Cooktown today, while one of the company's emergency restoration mobile substations - known as "Pegasus" units - would also be moved to the area.
Energy and Water Supply Minister Mark McArdle said "Pegasus" units were successfully used to help restoration efforts in the wake of Cyclone Oswald last year.
"The technology was designed and built by Ergon Energy and has proven invaluable in disaster response," Mr McArdle said.
"We promised at the election to deliver better planning and our preparations for this cyclone show we remain committed to that.
"If power goes out, people can rest assured we have the best people on the job to restore supply.
"Ergon Energy crews are experienced and will get the power on as quickly and safely as they can."
At least 390 Ergon field staff are available across the possible impact zones of TC Ita and a further 180 specialist substation operations staff are also available from Cairns and Townsville locations.
TROPICAL cyclone advice number eight which was issued at 2pm says that a cyclone warning remains current for coastal areas from Cape Grenville to Port Douglas and inland to areas including Laura.
At 1:00 pm EST Severe Tropical Cyclone Ita, Category 4, was estimated to be 420 kilometres northeast of Cooktown and 380 kilometres east northeast of Cape Melville, and moving southwest at 16 kilometres per hour.
Severe Tropical Cyclone Ita, category 4, is expected to move in a general southwest direction towards the far north Queensland coast today and into Friday, while possibly intensifying further.
TROPICAL cyclone advice number seven which was issued at 11am says that a cyclone warning is current for coastal areas from Cape Grenville to Port Douglas.
A cyclone watch is current for coastal areas from Port Douglas to Innisfail, extending up to 300 kilometres inland to areas including Kalinga, Laura, Palmerville, and Chillagoe.
At 10am severe Tropical Cyclone Ita which is currently a Category 3, was estimated to be 505 kilometres east of Lockhart River and 470 kilometres northeast of Cooktown, and moving west southwest at 14 kilometres per hour.
It is expected to move in a west-southwest direction and continue moving towards the far north Queensland coast into Friday, while intensifying.
It is and expected to make landfall late on Friday as a severe Category 4 tropical cyclone with very destructive winds of up to 220 kilometres an hour near the core and gales extending from the landfall location.
The next advice will be issued by 2pm.
CYCLONE Ita is hovering ominously off the Far North Queensland coast and its effects in the Central Queensland region could be greater than first expected.
One model predicts the path of the cyclone, tipped to be the strongest since Yasi, could extend as far south as the Whitsundays.
The Whitsundays and Mackay are likely to experience some effects, including rain, from the cyclone still building out to sea.
Townsville Bureau of Meteorology senior forecaster Doug Fraser said yesterday showers would increase into the weekend.
"There'll be thunderstorms around the Central Coast area, and the Whitsundays might pick these up," he said.
"Into Sunday, storms will be a bit closer to Mackay and it is expected to get a bit wetter into next week also."
Mr Fraser said some models were predicting different paths where the cyclone would hit and it was still expected to be a Category 4.
"Dependant on what happens with the cyclone, it's eventually expected to head southwards, weakening out over land," he said.
"Some models are not getting it to the coast so there's a slight risk we'll see the cyclone extending to the Whitsundays. That's not the opinion of the Cyclone Centre - that's just one scenario.
"Whichever direction, we're expecting rainfall across the coast and shower activity in Mackay into the weekend and next week."
He said daytime temperatures should be slightly cooler.
"Temperatures will be dropping the next few days," Mr Fraser said.