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Powerful cyclone packing winds up to 230km/h hits Australia

Published on Apr 12, 2014 4:38 AM
This Nasa Earth Observatory handout satellite image received on April 12, 2014 acquired by Aqua’s Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on April 11 shows Tropical Cyclone Ita as it bore down on Australia’s Cook Peninsula. -- PHOTO: AFP

SYDNEY (AFP) - A cyclone packing winds of up to 230 kilometres an hour hit northern Australia late Friday before weakening to a category two storm as it moved down the coast.

Tens of thousands of people hunkered down as warnings of severe gales, flash flooding and storm tides continued through the night.

"Destructive winds with gusts to 140 kilometres per hour are possible between Cape Melville and Cape Tribulation for a period this morning," the Bureau of Meteorology said.

The storm was moving at nine kilometres per hour and was "expected to continue moving south-southwest" and weaken through the early morning.

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