Queensland – cyclone one day, sunshine the next.
Premier Campbell Newman is pleading with southerners not to cancel their Easter breaks, as the far north dries out and cleans up after Cyclone Ita.
“The sun, by the way, is shining again,” he said.
“You’re bound to have a great time.”
On Sunday, the premier choppered into Hope Vale and Cooktown, which bore the brunt of Ita when it crossed the coast as a category four storm on Friday night.
He predicted it would take about eight to 12 weeks to “really crack the back of the recovery task”.
“It’s good that there is no loss of life but I can’t stress enough (that) people have got to sit tight.”
About 50 buildings were damaged in Cooktown and another five written off.
The town’s water supply was critically low and it’s hoped power can be restored to the water treatment plant by Sunday night.
In Hope Vale, the banana farm which sustains the local economy was razed.
While the sun was shining in the towns on Sunday as well as in Cairns, the danger is not over yet.
Cyclone Ita is expected to remain its category one status until late on Monday as it weaves on and off the coast south to central Queensland.
Up to 15,000 homes are without power and regional towns are flooding.
On Sunday evening, the popular tourist destinations of Airlie Beach and the Whitsundays were being lashed by 90km/h winds, and up to 400mm of rain could soak some areas.
Just north, Bowen copped 200mm in a short period of time, overloading the storm water system.
While there has been no reports of property damage as of yet, Mr Newman says the situation is worsening.
“There is an issue where the Don River is rising very fast and expected to peak at 9pm, and that may well cause flooding problems again,” Mr Newman said.
On Monday morning, the premier will travel to Ingham where sugar cane crops have been flattened. The town is cut in two by a swollen creek and the Bruce Highway remain closed to its south.
Mayor Rodger Bow warned locals there was raw sewerage in the water and people risked disease if they ventured out.
“We had severe rain, about 300mm, and I don’t know what kilometre an hour winds, but we have trees blown down,” Cr Bow said.