Forecasters say there’s still a chance a tropical cyclone could hit Queensland despite the official cyclone period ending on Wednesday.
Queensland’s cyclone season ends today but forecasters are warning there’s still a chance another severe storm could hit the state.
“You can never totally rule out the chances of one after the official end of the cyclone season,” Bureau of Meteorology forecaster Ken Kato has told AAP.
“It’s just the vast majority of tropical cyclones tend to occur within the tropical cyclone season.”
Cyclone Ita, which crossed the far northern coast as a category four storm on April 11, was the most damaging of the four cyclones detected in the eastern region this wet season.
It made landfall near Cooktown where roofs were torn off buildings, large trees were uprooted, homes were damaged and a nearby banana plantation destroyed.
Despite the damage, many in the area said they dodged a bullet as Ita was expected to cross the coast as a category five storm, potentially causing widespread destruction.
Ita quickly weakened but remained a tropical cyclone for several days as it tracked south and hugged almost 1000 kilometres of coastline, unleashing heavy winds and dumping torrential rain as far south as Mackay.
While there was no loss of life or serious injury, Ita flattened cane fields, ruined banana crops, cut the state’s main highway and left a mammoth clean-up task in her wake.
Canegrowers as far south as Proserpine were among the hardest hit with an estimated 90 per cent of Australia’s sugar cane crop destroyed.
The preliminary damage bill has been estimated at $1 billion.
Other cyclones to hit the state this season were Dylan, Edna and Fletcher.
Mr Kato said most of Queensland, of which more than 70 per cent is drought-declared, had seen average to below average rain this wet season, with the exception of western Cape York, which has been drenched.
And the outlook for those farmers desperate for rain is uncertain.
“Our current seasonal outlook suggests about even chances for wetter or drier than normal conditions over much of Queensland (over the coming months),” Mr Kato said.
On average four to five cyclones form in the eastern region during the season which runs November to April.