Powerful cyclone sweeps nears Australia's Great Barrier Reef coast
Published on Apr 11, 2014 4:49 PM
SYDNEY (AFP) - A cyclone packing winds of up to 275 kilometres an hour swept towards Australia's Great Barrier Reef coast on Friday, forcing thousands of people to hunker down as authorities warned of potential devastation.
Cyclone Ita, while downgraded from a maximum level five to a category four storm, was expected to bring fierce gales when it hits north of Cooktown, some 1,600 km from Brisbane, late on Friday.
"Anything over 80 kilometres (per hour) is dangerous," Cook Shire mayor Peter Scott told the Australian Broadcasting Corp.
"Anything over 80K will put a piece of tin through you and chop your head off, it will lift roofs off, it will make severe damage so the best place to be is staying inside," he said.
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