Cyclone Yasi has been upgraded to a category five storm, as authorities said people in the far north Queensland cyclone zone should make sure they’re cashed up ahead of the major disaster, with essentials ready.
Yasi is predicted to have considerably more punch than Cyclone Larry five years ago.
The Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) in Brisbane said that at 5am AEDT Yasi was about 650 kilometres east-northeast of Cairns and 650 kilometres northeast of Townsville moving west southwest at 30km/h.
“The cyclone has now reached category five and will continue to move in a west-southwesterly direction during today,” the BoM said on its website on Wednesday morning.
Experts say this one is much larger, heading for more heavily populated areas, and it’s likely to be more ferocious and may not even be the last cyclone this year to threaten a state already reeling from killer floods, AAP reports.
They say Larry damaged 10,000 homes in 2006, and cost one-point-five billion dollars, virtually annihilating Australia’s banana crop.
Queensland Premier Anna Bligh has warned the storm is so large that the calm experienced as the eye passes could last for more than one hour.
The advice has come from the Department of Emergency Services cyclone guide, which says people should make sure they have enough money to cover essential items like food, water and petrol as likely power outages could shut down ATMs.
Items people should have ready include include baby formula, medications, warm clothes, important papers and
mementos, pillows, sleeping bags and waterproof plastic bags.
Residents are instructed to fill buckets and baths with water and have purification tablets to make the water drinkable in case of an emergency.
All electricity gas and water appliances should be turned off and all appliances unplugged, and people should have fresh batteries for radios and torches, well stocked first aid kits, non perishable food, sturdy glovess, waterproof bags, candles and matches.