The people of Far North Queensland have just faced arguably the largest and worst cyclone Australia has seen. Cyclones are a fact of life in the tropics but this one was a giant and the sight of it on radar images heading towards Cairns was terrifying. People living in possible storm surge areas and buildings that were not likely to survive the winds were evacuated to centres on higher ground away from the coastline. The rest made preparations to protect their homes and lives. They were told to choose the smallest room in the house, tape windows to reduce the risk of flying broken glass and bunker down for the night. My daughter in Cairns took the mattresses from the beds, used them to line the walls of their bathroom and this was where the four of them spent the night.
Yasi crossed the coast between Cairns and Townsville which are 350km apart. This meant that both cities , although they suffered damage, were spared the worst of the destruction but the small towns between these two cities were devastated. By the time it crossed the coast Yasi was a Category 5 and wind gusts of over 300km/hr were predicted near its centre.