One of the most powerful storms ever measured has hit the north-east coast of Australia.
Cyclone Yasi is battering hundreds of kilometres of shoreline with winds of up to 300 km per hour near its centre.
The premier of Queensland Anna Bligh said they were in for a ‘tough 24-hours’, and warned residents to expect ‘scenes of devastation and heartbreak on an unprecedented scale.’
Mines, railway lines and ports have been shut. Forecasters said the cyclone could bring destruction well inland.
One mining community 1000 kilometres from the coast has been put on alert.
Cyclone Yasi is a maximum strength category five storm.
More than 400,000 people live in its path including the cities of Cairns, Townsville and Mackay.