Powerful Cyclone Nears Australia's Northeast, Evacuations Ordered

"Tourists and coastal residents were evacuating parts of the Great Barrier Reef on Thursday as a powerful cyclone intensified in the Coral Sea and made its way towards Australia's northeast.

Cyclone Ita is forecast to make landfall on Friday north of the tropical city of Cairns, bringing with it the possibility of widespread flooding and damage, emergency officials said.

Wind gusts of up to 280 kmh (175 mph) are forecast, bringing with them torrential rain, according to the Australian Bureau of Meteorology said."

James Regan reports for Reuters April 11, 2014.

Friday, April 11, 2014