Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Category 5 creates Havoc...another on the way

North Queensland was battered by Cyclone Larry on Monday morning, is bracing for more wild weather this week. Larry crossed the coast on Monday as a category 5 storm -the strongest on the intensity scale-with winds up to 180 miles per hour (290km/per hr). The tempest tore the roofs off buildings and left about 120,000 people without power.

Strong winds are still whipping across the region, but storm is expected to dissipate completely before it reaches the Northern Territory border. Meanwhile, Cyclone Wati has been steadily moving towards the Queensland Coast, and an upper-level storm moving into the region is complicating predictions of the cyclone's path.

Here are some pics of the devastation to towns from Innisfail to Cairns.

While running water could be restored within days, power and sewerage could take longer to re-establish after the 290km/per hr fury of the category 5 cyclone wreaked havoc in Innisfail and surrounding towns.

Late yesterday thousands of homes were still without power as Ergon Energy field staff worked in 12 hour shifts in a bid to restore service to Cairns, the Tablelands and Babinda.

About 400 soldiers have been sent from Townsville and 6000 meals were delivered along with fresh water supplies.

Early estimates have put the damage bill at close to $1 billion , with more than 1400 insurance claims already lodged.

Prime Minister Howard has unvelied a multi-million dollar aid package to the victims of Cyclone Larry, offering $10,000 tax-free grants for each small business affected by the disaster. In addition, the Commonwealth and Queensland governments will make available concessional loans of up to $200,000.

While North Queensland is still recovering from Cyclone Harry, Cyclone Wati has intensified and could be upgraded to a category four cyclone within 24 hours. It is currently 500km off the Queensland Coast, east - northeast of Mackay.

Check out the path of the cyclones


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