Residents in Ingham will have to wait to assess the full damage from Tropical Cyclone Ita, after the storm flattened sugar cane fields in the north Queensland shire.
Hinchinbrook Shire Council Mayor Rodger Bow told AAP he had received reports sugar cane crops had been flattened by Ita as the storm passed through overnight.
The town of Ingham has been completely cut off by floods, he said.
“We had severe rain, about 300mm of rain and I don’t know what kilometre an hour winds, but we have trees blown down,” Mr Bow said.
“I’ve only been for a short drive, but from what I’ve seen the sugar cane is lying flat on the ground. I have had reports it’s right over the district.”
Ingham, about 235km south of Cairns, has been a major service centre for sugar cane plantations since 1870.
Mr Bow said there had been no reports of housing damage, but floods had cut off roads to the north and south of the town.
“The river has just about peaked and we’re going to wait for it to run out,” he said.
He said he hoped the river would recede by Sunday afternoon.
“We’ve got sunshine now.”
In nearby Townsville, Mayor Jenny Hill said Ita had left 7000 homes without power and felled some trees, but there was no significant damage to property.
“It’s what the locals here call a baby blow,” she said, adding that Townsville was built to sustain cyclonic conditions.
“That’s no reason for the insurance people to push our premiums up.”
Further south in Mackay, residents are preparing for Ita to hit.
Deputy Mayor Kevin Casey said they are expecting the storm to reach the area by Sunday night.
The local disaster management group is on alert and flood gates closed in preparation.
“At this stage it won’t be til tonight until we have any kind of breeze at all,” Mr Casey said.