Written by Administrator on Wednesday, 02 February 2011 19:03
I travelled to North Queensland, Australia yesterday to cover cyclone Yasi and its effects on the region, potentially the largest cyclone in Australian recorded history. Finally made it to the town of Tully today and it appears as if I'm directly in the path of the fierce cyclone, now a category 5 and packing winds in excess of 250 km/h.
The Bruce Highway which links most of the coastal towns on the north coast was eerily empty as I travelled into the impact zone. Some 30,000 people across the region have been ordered to evacuate their homes in readiness for the cyclone arrival around 11pm AEST. Townships such as Cardwell and Tully are ghost towns with buildings and homes sandbagged and windows taped. Army and state emergency personnel were patrolling the CBD of Townsville this morning to identify areas that may be of concern. A severe storm surge of 7 metres is feared and winds of up to 300km/h.
Presently Tully is experiencing building torrential rain and gusting wind with 3 hours until the storm crosses the coast.
Updates through the night.
CYCLONE YASI PHOTO GALLERY HERE
Image of Cyclone Yasi from Japanese Satellite. Nervous anticipation. Garners Beach residents wait with their dog in a Tully hotel room
after being evacuated from their coastal home.
Deserted. A Cardwell resident is a lone figure in the empty streets. Photo John Wilson, News Limited
High Hopes. A defiant resident secures his building in the main street of Cardwell. Photo John Wilson, News Limited
Gale force winds with violent gusts now in Tully. Lost power about an hour ago and sitting in darkness listening to the incredble roar of the ferocious wind. Starting to hear some creaking in the roof structure of the building. 89 thousand people without power.
We still have water supply.
Next UPDATE at midnight.
Violent winds and driving rain now increasing in intensity. Constant roar from wind, deafening at times. I have heard roof structure lift from our building. Attempted to look outside and had to fight to close the door of my hotel room.
View from my hotel room at the peak of the cyclone.
Next update 1am
We have just experienced the eye of the cyclone. An incredible contrast to the deafening roar of wind and driving rain. A symphony of croaking frogs began soon after the rain and wind stopped. Coconut palms lay strewn around our building with coconuts left floating in flooded drains and low lying areas. Stars were shining brightly and the cyclone edge could be seen in the distance being backlit by lightning fluorescing within the massive cloud face. Strong winds have just begun to return now.
Lance Ashton inspects damage at Tully during the eye of the cyclone.
Hotel signage ripped from its footings at Tully.Photographed during the eye of the storm.
Next Update 2:30am
Gale force winds are raging again now. Tree tops are being shredded by the relentless winds. Waves of super wind gusts are blowing in and sounding like the roar of jet engines. Experiencing some water inundation in my room as water is forced under the door by the extreme wind pressure. Our building is holding up so far, thankfully.
Next update 5am
Winds have reduced to gale force now. Still dangerous to venture outside. Heavy rain continues to fall. Will have aftermath photos throughout the day.
CYCLONE YASI AFTERMATH
Farm Shed demolished by Cyclone Yasi near Tully Heads
Destroyed Senior Citizens Hall Tully was to be an evacuation centre but was changed at the last minute.
Tully family ponders their future after their house was destroyed by Cyclone Yasi
Destruction in Tully
Tully CBD main street
Mission Beach banana plantation destroyed
Electricity power lines destroyed near Tully
Destruction in Mission Beach
Thanks for the interest everyone. My blog was a real hit on the web. Thanks for your interest and phone calls. You can find more photos in the Cyclone Yasi photo gallery and you can read about my experiences in two cyclone eyes in 12 months along with a selection of other interesting stories in my new book out in April. Cheers,John
John Wilson Blog
Last Updated ( Sunday, 28 October 2012 22:10 )