Cyclone Nathan has been downgraded to a category three storm after parts of far north Queensland narrowly escaped destruction.
Early indications suggest the town of Cooktown has been spared major damage from the storm, which was previously deemed a category four.
Nathan made landfall north of Cape Flattery at about 4am, about 100 kilometres north of Cooktown.
It was a category four when it hit the coast, but has since been downgraded to a category three as it tracks west, dumping heavy rain as it goes.
The Bureau of Meteorology expects Nathan to quickly lose strength and that it will be classified as a tropical low later on Friday.
At 6am, Nathan was 80 kilometres west-northwest of Cape Flattery and 110 kilometres northwest of Cooktown, and had sustained winds near the centre of 155km/h, gusting to 220km/h.
So far authorities have had only a few reports of relatively minor damage, including minor structural damage and trees down. There are also reports banana crops in the Cooktown area have been hit.
State Emergency Service assistant commissioner Peter Jeffrey said Nathan took a slight turn to the north just before it hit the coast, meaning it missed Cooktown and the nearby indigenous community of Hopevale.
“I think we’ve been fortunate in that it’s gone in and affected more remote areas,” he told the ABC.
But residents have been warned the danger isn’t over yet, with the possibility of localised flooding from the cyclone’s storm surge and heavy rain.
— with AAP