A small but fierce storm is heading for Australia with a new distinction: It’s now Earth’s strongest of 2014.

Over the several hours Thursday, Cyclone Ita rapidly intensified to a Category 5 beast of a storm. Estimates from Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology have the storm slightly stronger than Cyclone Ian, which hit Tonga earlier this year and was previously the strongest storm of 2014.

Only a handful of tropical cyclones ever reach this strength, fewer still in the Coral Sea off Australia’s tropical north coast.Ita could also prove to be one of the worst in Australia’s history, bringing storm surge, heavy rain and strong winds to a large swath of the Queensland coastline.

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