Cyclone Yasi to reach northeastern Australia early Thursday

Sydney, Feb 1: With Cyclone Yasi expected to reach Australia's northeastern coast early Thursday morning, several areas, including entire suburbs, will be evacuated on Tuesday, local media reported.

Yasi's 280 kilometer (174 miles) per hour winds are expected to hit somewhere between Cairns and Innisfail in north Queensland as its diameter is being forecasted to be twice as big as 2006's cyclone Larry, which devastated the region, Australia's ABC reported.

Queensland Premier Anna Bligh warned residents of the "huge and life-threatening" cyclone, adding that being well prepared was the best defense.

"I know many of us will feel that Queensland has already borne about much as we can bear when it comes to disasters and storms," Bligh said, regarding the recent flash flooding that killed 35 in the region. "But more is being asked of us," she added.

Nervous residents still rattled by the recent flooding have been stocking their homes with basic supplies, and some supermarkets are already expecting to run out of some items in the upcoming hours, the paper said.

Others are fleeing before the strongest winds reach the area, closing out roads and disrupting travel.

The Cairns airport, which is located in the northern region of Queensland, could close due to the strong winds, airport spokeswoman Helen Laird said. Even though the airport would not actually be closing, operations would be ceased as early as Wednesday morning, based on reports from the Bureau of Meteorology.


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