Cyclone Yasi rips through Australia's northeast and threatens northwest

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA: Cyclone Yasi ripped through Australia's northeastern region, causing relatively little damage with no deaths or serious injuries reported, while the country's northwest braces for the cyclone, local media reported Wednesday.

Australia's Bureau of Meteorology had listed Yasi as a Category 5 cyclone, and fearful residents fled the area as it was listed to be twice as large as 2006's devastating Cyclone Larry, the country's ABC reported.

As the cyclone roared overnight with 285 kilometer (177 miles) per hour winds, buildings, rooftops, and trees were destroyed in the towns of Tully, Mission Beach, Cardwell, Silkwood and Innisfail, but most of the damage was done in the coastal areas.

Officials later downgraded the cyclone to Category 2 Thursday morning as it made its way inland into Georgetown and Charles Towers.

"I certainly think that many in north Queensland will be breathing a sigh of relief," Queensland Premier Anna Bligh stated, as the several towns escaped major damage.

However, Bligh underlined that several communities will be facing scenes of considerable devastation and many people will be feeling a great sense of despair.

Bligh also noted that even though no deaths had been reported, "it's a long way to go" and "too early to draw any conclusions."

Emergency and relief teams are currently making their way through the affected regions to assess the extent of the damages.

Meanwhile, Queensland Police Commissioner Bob Atkinson warned that Cyclone Yasi is not over yet as it head's toward the state's northwestern region, urging residents to take shelter and precautionary measures.

"We're pleading with people in those localities to take it seriously, to stay inside and heed all the warnings," Atkinson stated. "It would seem that we have been blessed and fortunate so far and we want that to continue."


Please Wait while comments are loading...