On April 10, 2014 Tropical Cyclone Ita rapidly intensified to a powerful storm as it took aim on northeastern Australia. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) aboard NASA’s Terra satellite captured this true-color image at 0025 UTC (10:25 a.m. Australian Eastern Standard Time). At that time, Ita (pronounced “Eye-tah”) spun over the Coral Sea, and the storm sported a cloud-filled eye. It also had the distinct apostrophe-shape, typical of strong or intensifying storms. Rain bands in the northeast quadrant hung over Papua New Guinea, with some leading bands over Queensland, Australia, in the west.
The system was first spotted on April 1 when it was a tropical low over the Solomon Islands. It gradually increased in strength for several days, until the rapid intensification on April 10. On that date, Tropical Cyclone Ita’s maximum sustained winds reached 135 mph/217 km/h, according to Weather Underground, making it a Category 4 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale.
Tropical Cyclone Ita made landfall in northeast Australia near Cape Flattery in Queensland between 9 and 10 p.m. local time on April 11 as a weakening, but still powerful Category 4 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson scale. It tracked over the eastern Cape York Peninsula, where it weakened to a tropical storm, then re-emerged in the Coral Sea on April 14. By the next day, Ita had become extra-tropical, and was dissipating in the face of significant wind shear.