Cyclone Yasi morphs into category 5 killer but dodges bullet


GOVERNMENT WARNING – TC Yasi, CATEGORY 5, will continue to move in a west-southwesterly direction during the day. The cyclone is expected to cross the coast in the Innisfail area at about midnight. Coastal residents within the warning area, and particularly between Cairns and Ayr are specifically warned of an EXTREMELY DANGEROUS SEA LEVEL RISE [i.e. storm tide] as the cyclone approaches, crosses the coast and moves inland. The sea is likely to steadily rise up to a level which will be VERY DANGEROUSLY above the normal tide, with EXTREMELY DAMAGING WAVES, STRONG CURRENTS and FLOODING of low-lying areas extending some way inland. People living in areas likely to be affected by this flooding should take measures to protect their property as much as possible, and be prepared to follow instructions regarding evacuation of the area if advised to do so by authorities.
Feb 2 (Reuters) – Australia’s Cyclone  Yasi, with winds of up to 300 km (186 miles) per hour, is so powerful it could blow apart even “cyclone proof” houses, engineers said on Wednesday. Yasi is headed for major towns and cities along the northeast coast. It is believed to be the strongest ever to hit Australia, surpassing Cyclone Tracy which largely destroyed the northern city of Darwin in 1974. –Reuters 
Update: CYCLONE Yasi has begun to batter towns and cities across north Queensland, tearing down trees and damaging houses about 5 hours before the eye of the storm is expected to cross the coast. Innisfail Mayor Bill Shannon said he had already seen the roof torn from a building near the council chambers where 500 people are sheltering. “The eye is five hours away and it’s already causing damage so it’s pretty worrying,” he said. Cassowary Coast councillor Ross Sorbello, a Tully resident, said trees had been torn down in nearby El Arish and Cardwell. “We’re just hoping and praying we can all get through the night,” he said. “The winds are probably getting up to 100 kilometres an hour which is worrying when we are this far out (from the eye).” However, he said he was more concerned about the potential loss of life than damage to property. “This is a cyclone of savagery and intensity,” Prime Minister Julia Gillard said in a news conference. “People are facing some really dreadful hours in front of them.” –News.Au
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