The wind speed made it the equivalent of a Category 3 hurricane.
Damaging wind and storm surge flooding was expected, and roof damage was reported to several homes and the James Cook Museum in Cooktown. The town of 2,300 had already received 4.5 inches of rain by the time the cyclone officially struck.
Prior to arriving in Australia, Cyclone Ita produced heavy rain and flooding in the Solomon Islands. It then intensified from a Category 1 to a Category 4 equivalent cyclone in only 12 hours, slowing slightly before it struck Australia.
Strong winds and heavy rains are predicted across northern Australia for the rest of the weekend, raising a threat of flooding.
Tropical cyclones are not uncommon in Australia, their season running from November through April, the Australian Bureau of Meteorology said.