Cyclone strikes NE Australia

Satellite image of Cyclone Yasi, 02 Feb 11

As if NE Australia hasn’t already been battered enough by recent heavy rains and flooding, along comes Cyclone Yasi.

The cyclone packing winds of up to 300 km an hour near its core, came ashore along hundreds of kilometers of coastline in Queensland.

Major cities in the area including Cairns and Townsville appeared to escape the full brunt of the storm, but officials expected severe damage in smaller communities.

More than 400,000 live in the cyclone’s path and the entire stretch is popular with tourists thanks to the Great Barrier Reef.

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