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Dublin: 12°C Tuesday 20 October 2020
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Queensland braces for Cyclone Yasi

State Premier says over 10,000 people have already evacuated from storm’s path and now it’s time to bunker down and sit out the storm.

NASA's satellite image shows Cyclone Yasi approaching the coast of Queensland today.
NASA's satellite image shows Cyclone Yasi approaching the coast of Queensland today.
Image: AP Photo/NASA - Jeff Schmaltz

THE POWERFUL CYCLONE HEADING for Australia’s coast has been upgraded to a category 5 storm as residents in the expected path of the storm are urged to finish their preparations.

Over 10,600 people are already being accommodated at temporary evacuation centres, according to Queensland State Premier Anna Bligh.

She said that at this stage, it was important for residents to stay put and evacuation centres are not expecting any more people to show up as wind gusts accelerate over the coming hours, and added:

To all of those people who are listening and to all of those in their homes, can I say that I know you are now in the thoughts of every Australian and I hope you feel that as a great strength in the many hours that are ahead of you.

She advised people planning to bunker down in their homes to fill their bath with water to drink in the coming days and to tape up their windows. People should also make sure they and their children wear proper shoes as they may not be able to find their shoes when leaving their houses later.

Bligh said that the tropical storm is expected to hit land at around 10pm local time tonight (or noon today, Irish time). The storm is expected to still be a category 3 storm 450km inland over 12 hours after it first hits the coast, she said:

This is a huge and deadly storm. It is the largest cyclone to cross the Queensland coast in generations. The last time we had a category 5 cyclone was in 1918.

[caption id="attachment_77264" align="alignnone" width="533" caption="Australia's Bureau of Meteorology charts Yasi's progression towards the coast."][/caption]

Mass power outages are expected due to extremely high winds and widespread flooding is expected. The sea level along the coast is forecast to rise significantly above normal wave height and the storm could bring torrential rain over the next few days.

Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology says Yasi is a powerful tropical cyclone which poses “an extremely serious threat to life and property within the warning area, especially between Cairns and Townsville”.

The eye of the storm could take about an hour to pass, and residents are urged not to leave their homes or accommodation until the storm is over.

Watch the latest emergency briefing with Anna Bligh and the Queensland police:

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