Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Cyclone Yasi

A category 5 tropical cyclone (hurricane) has been developing in the Coral Sea off northern Queensland for some time now.
It is now heading for the coast and is expected to cross it between Cairns and Ingham sometime tonight.
Winds are expected to be around 300km/hr (190mph) accompanied by a tidal surge of some 8-12m.
This is potentially the most damaging storm in living memory dwarfing Cyclone Tracy which completely destroyed Darwin in 1974.

Coastal areas have been evacuated and those who were unable to travel south have been located to cyclone shelters in major centers.
The Australian Airforce evacuated the patients from two major hospitals in the area south to Brisbane.
All the tourist islands on the Great Barrier Reef have also been cleared of people and all airports in the region closed.

The size of this storm is difficult to comprehend.
The above picture of its scale will probably help those not familiar with the Australian continent.
This, on top of the floods some weeks ago in Queensland, is making this 'wet season' one of the most disastrous on record.
Yasi could take at least 24 hours to weaken after it makes landfall probably going to go 500km inland before it's no longer of a cyclone intensity. Extensive outback flooding is expected.
I shall keep you updated.

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