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Posted at 12:45 PM ET, 02/ 3/2011

Queensland, Australia slammed by cyclone

By Jason Samenow

On Feb. 2 at 03:35 UTC / 1:35 p.m. Australia local time, the MODIS instrument on NASA's Aqua satellite captured this visible image of Cyclone Yasi making landfall in Queensland, Australia. Credit: NASA Goddard MODIS Rapid Response Team.

Wednesday morning (Eastern Time), cyclone Yasi made landfall as a powerful Category Four storm (Category 5 on Australia's scale) along Australia's northeastern coast in Queensland with maximum sustained winds of 155 mph. (What we call hurricanes, Australians call cyclones).

Peak 3-sec wind gusts of about 170 mph were recorded near Mission Beach where the storm came ashore according to Reuters.

Reuters also reports Yasi is expected to cost insurers around AUS $3.5 billion, the second most damaging Australian cyclone on record after cyclone Tracy which struck Darwin in 1974. ABC News Australia posted an incredible photo gallery of some of the devastation in the region.

The Associated Press reports that amazingly the large, intense storm, equivalent to the size of Italy, has resulted in no deaths:

Officials said lives were spared because, after days of increasingly dire warnings, people followed instructions to flee to evacuation centers or bunker themselves at home in dozens of cities and towns in Yasi's path.

In addition, the heart of the storm missed the region's most populated areas according to reports.

While the storm's worst rains are north of the same area inundated by severe flooding in recent months, numerous flood warnings are currently in effect for parts of Queensland.

ABC News Australia has the latest on Yasi - now classified as remnant low.

By Jason Samenow  | February 3, 2011; 12:45 PM ET
Categories:  International Weather, Latest, Tropical Weather  
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Amazement that civilians listened to weather related evacuation instructions, and that the instructions were correct.
They are really getting it down under this year.

Posted by: FIREDRAGON47 | February 3, 2011 12:59 PM | Report abuse

The advance warnings reflected remarkably good predictions of Yasi (~ narrow "cone of uncertainty")

Posted by: ensemblemean | February 3, 2011 1:15 PM | Report abuse

Seeing a low pressure system spin clockwise because of the coriolis effect always looks wierd to me for some reason.

Posted by: tbone4eva | February 3, 2011 1:29 PM | Report abuse

Seeing that toilet standing alone in the second photo reminds me that a friend of mine survived that cyclone Tracy which hit Darwin in 1974. Unfortunately, back then, though there were some warnings, hardly anyone was really prepared for its arrival on Christmas Eve night. My friend and his roommate spent the horrific night in their cast iron tub. When morning came, that tub was all that was left of their house and their possessions. The neighborhood was flattened, and pieces of Christmas wrapping paper were everywhere.

Posted by: imback | February 3, 2011 5:17 PM | Report abuse

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