Wednesday, 2 February 2011

'Worst Ever' Giant Cyclone Yasi Slams Into Australia

A terrifying top-strength cyclone slammed into Australia's populous northeast coast Thursday, with officials warning it could be one of the most lethal storms in the nation's history.
Howling winds whipped up by Severe Tropical Cyclone Yasi with speeds of up to 290 kilometres (181 miles) per hour ripped off roofs, felled trees and cut power lines as the storm crossed the Queensland coast.
“Without doubt we are set to encounter scenes of devastation and heartbreak on an unprecedented scale,” Bligh said at a late-night press briefing.
“This cyclone is like nothing we have ever dealt with before as a nation. It will take all of us and all of our strength to overcome this. I am confident that we are capable of that, but the next 24 hours I think are going to be very, very tough ones for everybody.”

Yasi, the worst storm in a century, was expected to slam into the coast around midnight Wednesday the Bureau of Meteorology said, after it was upgraded early in the day to a category five storm from category four.
“This impact is likely to be more life-threatening than any experienced during recent generations,” it said in an ominous warning ahead of the first category five storm to hit the area since 1918. Wild advance winds tore the roof off a building near where 500 people were taking shelter in Innisfail, which is directly in Yasi’s path, while 89,000 homes were without power after cables and trees were felled along the coast. A group of terrified residents who failed to heed evacuation warnings made frantic calls to police when a storm surge engulfed their home near Cardwell, but weather prevented authorities from helping, police said.
Yasi, which measures up to 800 kilometres (500 miles) across, was on course to hit the area between Innisfail, south of the tourist hub of Cairns, and Cardwell, 100 kilometres south of Innisfail.

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