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Severe Tropical Cyclone Yasi (Cat 5)

Severe Tropical Cyclone YasiPosition: 16.4S 149.9E [ 6 PM CST 0000 UTC 10AM AEST].
Movement: West-Southwest [250°] near 22 mph [35 kph].
Maximum sustained winds: 150 mph [240 kph].
Wind Gusts: 185 mph [295 kph].
Tropical Storm Wind Radius: 300 miles [480 km].
Hurricane Wind Radius: 45 miles [ 74 km].
Minimum central pressure: 922 mb ↓.

Currently about 275 miles [ 440 km] East of Cairns, Australia in the Coral Sea.

A Cyclone Warning is in effect for coastal areas from Cape Melville to Sarina, extending inland to east of Croydon to Hughenden.

A Cyclone Watch is in effect for coastal and island communities North and South of the Warning area from Lockhart River to Winton and adjacent inland areas in Queensland.

Check the Australian BoM Cyclone page for the most current information.

The latest from the ABC: Tens of thousands flee ‘perfect storm’.

The Saffir-Simpson scale is at a maximum Category 4 and the Australian system classifies this as a Category 5 storm. Australians should be aware that I primarily rely on US Navy forecasts from the tropical warning center in Hawaii with the information derived from satellites. The sustained winds will generally be higher than under the Australian system because the US system uses a 1 minute average vice a 10 minute average.

The last satellite image showed an open eye about 10 miles across and good outflow, which indicates that this storm is still strengthening. There is always the hope of an eyewall replacement cycle before landfall which would reduce wind speed, but the storm has been tracking in a straight line towards Cairns for so long that it is building a significant storm surge ahead of it. The Navy is reporting “Maximum significant wave height at 011200z is 38 feet.” 11.6 meter waves is not something to look forward to.

I’ve been through several of these things, and I would not hang around for this one. If you are near the coast leave. This thing is Katrina-sized and the damage will be widespread and severe. Get out of its way. Any boats along the coast are going to end up well inland. Katrina carried 100-foot steel shrimp boats miles inland on the storm surge. Innisfail and Cardwell could well be scoured off the map. Unless you have been in a tornado, you have no concept of what is coming. LEAVE!

4 comments

1 ellroon { 02.01.11 at 4:12 pm }

I refer to Dave Barry’s excellent hurricane post… http://www.davebarry.com/misccol/hurricane.htm

2 Bryan { 02.01.11 at 7:32 pm }

Nebraska would be a much better place to be, even with the blizzard, than the Northeast coast of Queensland right now.

3 cookiejill { 02.01.11 at 10:03 pm }

When are the Aussie’s going to be given a break? This thing looks like a monster.

4 Bryan { 02.01.11 at 10:31 pm }

As I just posted, Jill, that’s what they are calling it. Hopefully it will move fast enough that it won’t have time to dump enough rain in any one location to restart the flood cycle.