It is just before 9am, February 3, in Queensland now.
Tropical Cyclone Yasi, rated category five as it crossed the Queensland coast, is now downgraded to Category two. The massive cyclone was approximately twice the width of Cyclone Larry six years ago, which was previously the most devastating cyclone in Queensland.
This morning, Queenslanders could see homes with roofs ripped off, palm trees bent over in half, fences, garages, sheds and cars uprooted and devastated.
Many homes in Tully have been destroyed, most have lost their roof. The Tully senior citizens center had 10 people inside, when a Red Cross worker decided they should move to a more secure building. In the morning, they went back to the senior citizens centre and it was a twisted, mangled mess.
Tully, 1569 km north of Brisbane, 209 km north of Townsville and 142 km south of Cairns, has a population of around 2,500.
In Townsville, the power has been out for around 10 hours. Residents are advised to stay inside because more high winds, rain and flying debris are expected. Winds are still gusting now and it is unsafe to be out in the weather.
Townsville authorities are worried that the local dam is now full and may have to release water soon, and rain is still falling heavily.
The Australian Broadcasting Corporation posted updated reports every half hour all day and all night.
Thankfully, there was a lot of preparation for this cyclone, many who sheltered in evacuation centres, said they could hear debris smashing into buildings. At least three babies were born in evacuation centres overnight.
Although the eye of the storm has passed the coast, the danger isn’t over yet, because there are high winds and a second storm surge is expected, with winds up to 110km/h.
Thankfully, the cyclone crossed the coast at Mission Beach, a relatively thinly populated area, rather than near a larger city.
The Mission Beach Community is quite devastated, although there appear to be no serious injuries or deaths. Mission Beach abuts the rainforest and one tree is laying across the roof of a police house.
The cities along this coast are around an hour traveling time apart.
There will be another high tide around 09:30 this morning, Queensland time.
Rainfall of up to 300mm (12 inches) has already fallen in many areas, and more rain is coming. There are flood warnings all the way up the coast to Mackay.
The cyclone still has destructive wind gusts as it heads west south west towards Mt Isa, but by the time it reaches the mining town, late this evening, it is expected to be downgraded to a tropical storm, but still with dangerous high winds.