Time is running out.
But for the people of northeastern Australia the search for a safe haven is continuing, with a potentially catastrophic cyclone about to unleash its full wrath.
A maximum-category five storm, Yasi has already delivered major gusts to coastal Queensland. The city of Cairns is now bracing for its full force. The Great Barrier Reef is also in the firing line.
For those in the danger zone, there has been a warning and some reassurance from Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard.
“To the people of Far North Queensland, I say to them as they face what is probably the worst cyclone that our nation has ever seen, this is a powerful natural force but the courage of the people of Far North Queensland is an even stronger force again,” she said.
Still recovering from massive flooding, Queensland was hit by the much weaker Cyclone Anthony on Sunday. Yasi’s strength is on a par with Hurricane Katrina, which devastated New Orleans in 2005.