POWERFUL winds are battering far north Queensland as Tropical Cyclone Nathan crosses the coast.
The very destructive core of the cyclone, packing wind gusts of up to 230 kilometres an hour, made landfall as a category four system between Cape Melville and Cape Flattery just before 4am.
It has since been downgraded to a category three.
The town of Cooktown, and the nearby indigenous community of Hopevale, both just to the south of Cape Flattery, are in the grip of wild weather.
For further TC updates go to the Bureau of Meteorology website or call 1300 659 212. For cyclone preparedness and safety advice, visit Queensland's Disaster Management Services website. Visit FarmOnline Weather for more updates and information
About 50 people are holed up in Cooktown's cyclone shelter, and police there are now in lockdown and won't re-emerge until the cyclone threat has passed.
Cooktown still has power, but has lost water supplies, and power is out at Hopevale.
Wind gusts of more than 165km/h have been recorded at Cape Flattery.
Richard Wardle, from the Bureau of Meteorology, said Nathan is expected to quickly lose strength and should be downgraded later on Friday.
The Bureau said the sea is likely to rise steadily to a level well above the normal tide, with damaging waves and flooding of some low-lying areas, which could also extend some way inland.
Heavy rainfall that could cause flash flooding is also occurring in coastal and adjacent inland between Coen and Cape Tribulation, and will extend west across Cape York Peninsula with the passage of the cyclone.