Thursday, February 3, 2011

Yasi cause damage, but no victims, after passing through northern Australia

Cyclone Yasi has diminished and has been downgraded to category two (the second most powerful) in the last hours after stepping on Australian territory by the State of Queensland (north of the country) with gusts exceeding 300 km hour. In the early hours of the day has begun to take stock: Yesi has caused enormous damage on its way through northeastern Australia, which has destroyed entire villages and left 185,000 homes without electricity, as reported by official sources.

The good news is that, for the moment, the storm caused no fatalities in ANY OF the most affected areas (Tully, Silkwood, Mission Beach, Innisfail and Cardwell). The coast of Queensland has experienced a nightmarish night, after the cyclone, one of the strongest recorded in the South Pacific landed with winds up to 290 kilometers per hour with a front of 650 kilometers wide.

Anna Bligh, Governor of Queensland, had warned before the cyclone that night hours would be the worst, according to local media reports the ABC. Populations of Cardwell and Tully, south of the tourist city of Cairns, have been practically reduced to rubble by heavy rains and winds of the cyclone, which extends over an area the size of Italy.

A situation that joined concern sighting waves up to 12 meters near the coast. "It's as if someone had bombed the area and destroyed everything in its path," he told ABC radio the coordinator of the Red Cross in Queensland, Noelene Byrne. According to the weather service, the cyclone has entered the early evening Australian mainland by the coast and near the town of Mission Beach, north of Queensland.

The Brisbane Times newspaper told us that in Cardwell, south of Mission Beach, was evacuated as a whole, while Tully, one of every three homes have lost their roofs and the winds have downed trees and power lines. Cairns and Townsville, the two largest cities in the region were threatened, but have been spared the worst, and part of the 40,000 evacuees can return home after having spent the night in makeshift shelters in schools and supermarkets mounted.

Now the storm has reduced its speed and goes 29 kilometers per hour to Georgetown and Charters Towers, in the interior region of Australia, less populated than the coastal zone so that its effects may be lower. At four in the morning hours Australian (10 hours behind mainland Spain), the Meteorological Service reported that Yasi was moving at 34 kilometers per hour with winds of up to 230 k / h.

Some 180,000 households in the northeast Australian coast are without power. According to the authorities and meteorologists, Yasi may be greater and more dangerous storm than any other of those who previously have beaten Australia. The director of emergency services in Queensland, Neil Roberts, has reported serious structural damage in 60 homes, another 100 medium and about 50 with light.

"I think this gives an idea of the consequences of significant damage to property caused by the cyclone," he said. However, Robert has warned that the figures are preliminary. "This is the balance that provides aerial surveillance, but people are making their findings in the field, property ownership," said the official, was quoted by The Australian "catastrophic proportions" "We face a storm catastrophic and unprecedented, "said the governor for his part, after Yasi was elevated to a category five storm.

The governor appealed to people to stay in their homes or in shelters until authorities say it is safe. "We will do everything we can to shorten the time that the population is without assistance, but it is something we can control," he said in a message to the public. The weather service says Australia will be the strongest cyclone ever beaten the country.

"This storm is going to be terrible and potentially very, very damaging," said Bligh. The biggest threat may come from the tides along the coast due to hit the sea when the tide is high. "The next 24 hours will be scary for people living in the danger zone," he said. Mines, railroads and coal ports have closed, while officials warned that the storm could enter the hundreds of miles inland, reaching rural and mining areas are still struggling to recover after months of devastating floods.

There are few stores open, universities have been protected with sandbags and boards on windows, and even the military are rushing to get out of the area to their ships and planes on time. The heavy economic losses are expected. According to preliminary calculations of the authorities, the hurricane could have destroyed half the sugar cane cultivation in the State of Queensland, which represents 15% of the total sugar production in the country.

The most virulent of Australia cyclone The weather service estimated the strength of Yasi is greater than that of Cyclone Larry, which in 2006 destroyed houses and shops in the northeast coast and caused damage worth billions of dollars. Another cyclone, called Anthony and category 2, crossed on Monday the same region of Queensland with gusts up to 130 kilometers, but caused minor damage.

Cyclone Yasi comes to Australia just weeks after the worst floods in U.S. history and became an unprecedented catastrophe, with 35 deaths and economic damage amounted to more than 3,800 million euros. In total, the floods of last January caused more than 200,000 homeless.

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