Advertisement

Cyclone Yasi downgraded to tropical low

MISSION BEACH, Australia, Feb. 3 (UPI) -- Cyclone Yasi sputtered into a tropical low Thursday after slamming Australia's Queensland coast with 178 mph winds, officials said.

One of two people who had been reported missing after the storm roared ashore as a category 5 cyclone -- the worst to hit Queensland in 15 years -- was found late Thursday and rescue workers said they were hopeful the second person also would be located, the Australian Broadcasting Corp. said.

Advertisement

Yasi's winds were still gusting to 56 mph as the storm moved 560 miles inland. Cairns received 10 inches of rain Thursday with another 10 inches expected by Friday morning, forecasters said. Flooding was reported in Ingham and Giru.

"By tomorrow morning (Friday) it'll just be ex-Yasi, but still quite a dangerous system with the amount of rainfall that could be produced through the area, the northwest and central-west," forecaster Gordon Banks said.

The storm slammed ashore about midnight, battering coastal communities, but officials reported no deaths or serious injuries, ABC reported. The storm demolished houses, toppled trees, wiped out agricultural crops and shut down coal mining in far north Queensland state, officials said.

Advertisement

Cardwell, Tully, Mission Beach, Silkwood and Innisfail bore the brunt of the cyclone's destructive winds overnight, which toppled trees and disrupted electrical service, officials said.

Forecasters said the threat of flash flooding should ease by the weekend.

State Premier Anna Bligh said not much was known about conditions in some small communities isolated by the storm.

Damage was not as bad as feared in some places, Bligh said, "but I'm equally mindful that we have people in small communities that we have not heard from yet."

"This is still very, very early," she told Network Ten.

Electricity and phone service was out in many areas and was expected to remain so for several days. Officials said emergency crews could take as many as three days to reach some remote communities.

"Both my sons are living in Yasi's path and I cannot contact them," a Gold Coast, Queensland, resident who asked not to be identified told United Press International by e-mail. "Many communication towers have been destroyed. It may be some time before I can speak with them. So life is still intense here."

Queensland, with 4.5 million people, is larger than Alaska and was already saturated from weeks of torrential downpours that left at least 35 people dead and wrecked thousands of homes.

Advertisement

Latest Headlines

Advertisement
Advertisement

Follow Us

Advertisement