Newspaper article Sunshine Coast Daily (Maroochydore, Australia)

Yasi on Direct Path to Ruin; Cyclone Twice the Size of destroyerLarry

Newspaper article Sunshine Coast Daily (Maroochydore, Australia)

Yasi on Direct Path to Ruin; Cyclone Twice the Size of destroyerLarry

Article excerpt

Byline: Bill Hoffman

CYCLONE Yasi and all her destructive energy are on a rail track path of destruction straight for the North Queensland coast, with land fall expected about 1am tomorrow.

All the world's major weather models show the developing category four cyclone, which is travelling at speeds up to 40kmh, on course to hit the coast hard, generating winds well in excess of 200kmh.

At an estimated 500 kilometres wide and with an eye covering a width of 100km, Yasi is considered more than twice the size of Cyclone Larry, which destroyed Innisfail in 2006.

It will then head inland, wreaking havoc and dumping huge quantities of rain on an already saturated landscape.

Low-lying areas from Cairns to Yeppoon are being evacuated and 255 patients have been shifted out of Cairns Base Hospital on the Esplanade. They were flown to Brisbane yesterday afternoon by Hercules aircraft.

With the cyclone expected to cross the coast on tomorrow morning's high tide, there is real concern that a three- to four-metre storm surge will be dragged with it. People planning to evacuate were urged to do so yesterday with gale force winds expected to be generated well in front of the weather system by this morning, closing major northern airports.

The Sunshine Coast looks set to escape the worst of Yasi's power. Forecasters now predict only rain and strong winds through the weekend.

University of the Sunshine Coast School of Science and Education senior lecturer Neil Tindale said a strong ridge was guiding the cyclone. aIt does look like its going straight across on rails,'' he said.

aThe good news is that because it is travelling so fast it has less time to intensify further.''

It is travelling so fast that Sunshine Coast Daily surf forecaster Mike Perry expects a poor result for surfers.

He said Yasi had effectively ridden over its own swell tracks, leaving them to be extinguished by trailing winds. Despite some forecasters predicting seas up to three metres, Mr Perry said if it continued on its current course at its present speed Yasi would generate very little swell south of Fraser Island. …

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