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Queensland braces for Cyclone Yasi and further flooding

Storm expected to strike northern Australian coast on Wednesday night, and could bring further significant rainfall for flood-struck region.

Image: Australia's Bureau of Meteorology

AUSTRALIA’S FLOOD-RAVAGED Queensland region is bracing itself for the cyclone which is expected to strike shore on Wednesday.

The region suffered a smaller storm on Sunday, but this week’s storm could be the worst to ever hit the coast.

Queensland state premier Anna Bligh said in a press conference today that the storm had entered Australia’s cyclone watch area, and full cyclone warnings are expected to begin at lunchtime tomorrow.

A cyclone warning has been issued for the area between Cairns to Yeppoon, but disaster management groups will be prepared in areas further north and south of that stretch.

Bligh said the storm is not expected to dissipate quickly and significant rainfall is expected to strike those areas which have already been seriously affected by flooding.

The storm is expected to have reached a category 4 cyclone off the coast by Wednesday morning, and should strike land overnight.

People living in low-lying areas which are in danger of falling into the cyclone’s path should consider relocating, according to Bligh. The Whitsunday islands have begun evacuating visitors, and all ports from Cairns to Mackay will be closed by tomorrow afternoon.

“This is a very serious threat,” Bligh said.

I hope that we’re wrong. I hope this cyclone turns around; I hope that on Thursday and Friday we’re all breathing a big sigh of relief. But I would rather that people and their families were inconvenience for two or three days by moving out of home than finding themselves in a potentially life-threatening situation.

World News Australia reports that the government estimates that the recent heaving flooding in Queensland could cost up to Aus$5.6bn (€4.07bn). A one-off levy is being introduced to most Australians not affected by the floods and earning more than a low-income wage to shoulder the cost of the disaster.

Watch Anna Bligh’s update of the cyclone situation today in full:


Read the Bureau of Meteorology’s cyclone advice | Watch: Australian floods spark Brisbane evacuations | Brisbane begins clean-up after €15bn flooding

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