Powerful cyclone hits Australia

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Families leave the evacuation centre after taking shelter overnight from cyclone Ita in Cooktown, Queensland, Australia, 12 April 2014. EFE

A tropical cyclone battered Australia\’s Barrier Reef coast on Saturday, knocking out power and phone lines for thousands of people as officials warned the storm "continues to be a threat" despite weakening in force.

Tens of thousands of people hunkered down overnight as strong gales and heavy rains lashed the far north. There were no reports of injuries and while power was cut to some communities and buildings sustained some damage, there were no reports of major damage to infrastructure, authorities said on Saturday.
Even though tropical Cyclone Ita was downgraded, Newman urged residents to stay at home or in shelters as wind gusts of up to 120 km per hour and heavy rain were still forecast for some areas.
Shortly before noon, the storm was estimated to be 80km southwest of Cooktown and 115km northwest of the tourist city of Cairns, the weather bureau said.
It is expected to further weaken as it moves south and turn into a tropical low as it heads back out over the Coral Sea late on Saturday.
The storm, the strongest to approach the Queensland coast in three years, was classified as a tropical depression when it marched across the Solomon Islands late last week, killing at least 23 people, according to the United Nations.
Source-  Agencies

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