Cairns Esplanade before Cyclone Larry.
The Queensland's Counter Disaster and Rescue Service (CDRS) announced late last night it had done everything it could to prepare for Cyclone Larry.
Premier Peter Beattie confirmed authorities now have the legal power to force people from their homes if they refuse to leave.
"[It] empowers police or their delegated representatives to obviously to get people to move out of danger areas," Beattie was quoted as saying on ABC Radio.
"If they don't, then obviously they can moved forcibly - we don't want to do that - we're appealing for people to cooperate with the police.
"We're not asking people to move because we've got some stupid game going on - there is a threat to life and we need to be very serious about it," he said.
Mr Beattie and State Emergency Services Minister Pat Purcell, who are in Mackay this weekend for a community Cabinet meeting, are holding more talks this evening with police and other authorities.
More than ten thousand sandbags were delivered last night to unspecified areas in the looming disaster zone. Hundreds of volunteers were reported to be working through the night to get the sandbags in place around vulnerable buildings such as hospitals and evacuation shelters.
Rescue workers are expecting massive problems in towns hit by the 250-300kmh winds. Normally if a small town is hit by a natural disaster (floods and tropical storms are common in North Queensland), rescue workers and volunteers from surrounding towns pour in to help out. But because of the massive 400kmh storm frontage, dozens of towns are expected to suffer severe wind damage and flooding, destroying the possibility of help arriving from nearby towns.
Beachisde residents from Cairns to Townsville were last night told to get out and move as far inland as possible.
The mayors of towns in the areas expected to be hit worse have been shocked by the predictions of what Cyclone Larry will bring to their towns. They now expect the damage to be the worst their towns have ever seen.
As late as sunset yesterday afternoon, tourists from Sweden and the UK taking the day's last rays on the Cairns Esplanade were totally unaware such a huge storm was moving towards them.
Few of the backpackers hostels in Cairns had informed their patrons of the storm rapidly moving in from the sea.
BACKPACKERS, TOURISTS COMPLETELY UNAWARE OF MASSIVE CYCLONE ABOUT TO STRIKE
Cairns before Cyclone Larry arrives
Possibly due to the fact that Cyclone Larry increased its monumental winds from a Category 2 to the edge of a Category 5 in less than six hours, tens of thousands of people in the path of destruction remained completely unaware this storm was coming in.
This includes thousands of backpackers and tourists staying at hotels, backpackers and camp zones between Cairns and Cape Tribulation.
Even up at late last night, there were few signs in the weather that Cyclone Larry was coming.
When reporters approached some backapckers in Cairns they thought they thought the reporters were lying and that they were taking part in a practical joke-type TV show.
CYCLONE LARRY HAS A STORM FRONTAGE OF 400 KILOMETRES.