Severe Tropical Cyclone Ita was the strongest tropical cyclone to impact the Queensland coast since Severe Tropical Cyclone Yasi three years earlier. The system formed over the Solomon Islands as a tropical low on April 1 2014.
Gradually moving westward TC Ita developed in intensity and on April 10 2014 TC Ita intensified rapidly into a powerful Category 5 system however TC Ita weakened to a Category 4 system in the hours immediately preceding landfall the following day. Meteorologists noted the system had, at such time, developed a secondary eyewall which weakened the inner eyewall; as a result, the system was considerably less powerful than various intensity scales predicted.
Owing to the rapid degradation of the cyclone before landfall, structural damage was relatively low at A$8.4 million. However, the agricultural industry suffered extensive impacts and total losses reached A$1.1 billion.
The passage of tropical cyclone Ita across the Queensland coast forced sea levels to surge above normal along the coast south of Cape Flattery where Ita made land-fall.
The Storm-Tide gauge at Cooktown recorded a surge of just over one metre as Ita passed inland of the gauge site on the Cooktown Wharf. Ita's passage coincided with low water so the Storm-tide level may have been higher if passage was at high water.
Around 6 PM on 12 April a storm tide occured at the Cairns harbour as Tropical cyclone Ita passed close to Cairns.
As Tropical Cyclone Ita travels South (see the track above) storm tides occur along the coast over the following days. TC Ita remained as a category 1 cyclone so winds of around 100km/h forced sea water against the coast.
A surge level of 0.7m was recorded at the storm tide gauge in Townsville Harbour taking the total storm tide level to 3.9m. TC Ita passed Townsville off shore and at high water, giving a storm tide level only 0.2m below the highest tide level.
Resources: Details of TC Ita modified from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cyclone_Ita
Storm Tide levels from: www.qld.gov.au/tides (CCBY)