Cyclone Ita: Cooktown hardest hit

Innisfail is the next north Queensland town in the path of Tropical Cyclone Ita, the Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) warns.

The category one cyclone was 20km west-southwest of Cairns at 9pm (AEST) on Saturday, moving south-southeast at 10km/h with overnight wind gusts up to 100km/h possible between Port Douglas and Innisfail.

BoM forecaster Dean Narramore said Ita was likely to cross the coast and return to the Coral Sea near Innisfail and continue southeast.

"It looks like late tonight and into the early morning, it will progress towards Innisfail and early in the morning we expect that it will head off the coast,'' he told AAP.

"It will run parallel to the coast until about Proserpine, when it will move further off the coast.''

Mr Narramore said other weather conditions meant it was unlikely Ita would re-intensify in the Coral Sea.

Cairns received 113mm of rain between 9am and 9pm on Saturday and had wind gusts to 55km/h but at Arlington Reef, in open water northeast of Cairns, gusts were reaching 90km/h.

Falls of 310mm over the same period occurred at Boar Pocket, further inland from Cairns.

Gales to 100km/h are expected between Port Douglas and Innisfail overnight, extending to Cardwell.

Those gales and heavy rain with isolated falls up to 300mm may extend to Townsville and Mackay during Sunday, and to Yeppoon on Monday if Ita moves off-shore.

Ita will remain a category one until Monday night, the bureau predicted.

- AAP

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