CYCLONE LARRY TURNS TOWARDS CAIRNS, PORT DOUGLAS
Thousands of people have been evacuated from towns and villages along more than hundred kilometres of North Queensland's coast.
The tourist resorts in Cairns and Port Douglas have now begun evacuations. Unconfirmed reports of mandatory evacuations and residents being forced to leave their homes are now reaching Queensland radio stations.
Hundreds of State Emergency workers are going through towns and villages door-knocking to encourage people to leave the danger zones.
The storm surge is still being reported as likely to be between two and three metres high, with some of the latest reports suggesting the hide tide may even be above three metres.Severe weather conditions - hard rain, driving winds - are now beginning to hit towns along the coast between Innisfail and Cairns.
Cairns harbour, port and the airport are close, all flights have been suspended. Smaller regional airports have now also grounded flights scheduled for later this morning.
Hospitals in Cairns and surrounding towns are now being evacuated.
The Queensland Premier Peter Beattie declared an official disaster situation last night, this has allowed authorities for forcibly remove people from their homes who are refusing to go. There is no official word on how many people have been removed from their homes this way.CYCLONE LARRY IS EXPECTED TO BLOW WINDS OF MORE THAN 280KMH FOR THE NEXT 30 HOURS (minimum) AND WILL REACH HUNDREDS OF KILOMETRES INLAND
The latest warning (at the time of this post) issued in the last few minutes by the Brisbane Tropical Cyclone Warning Centre is terrifying, and they're playing it cautiously :
"Severe Tropical Cyclone Larry poses a VERY SERIOUS THREAT to life and property in the warning area.
"The VERY DESTRUCTIVE CORE of SEVERE TROPICAL CYCLONE LARRY with extreme gusts up to 280 km/hr should cross the coast between INNISFAIL and MISSION BEACH between 7am and 9am MONDAY MORNING. DESTRUCTIVE winds are expected to commence along the coast between INGHAM and PORT DOUGLAS early MONDAY MORNING.
"Coastal residents between Cairns and Townsville are specifically warned of the
DANGEROUS storm tide as the cyclone crosses the coast. The sea is likely to
steadily rise up to a level which will be significantly above the normal tide,
with damaging waves, strong currents and flooding of low-lying areas...."
UPDATE : Cape Tribulation, the beautiful World Heritage Site and one of the last remaining pockets of ancient rainforest in Australia is now in Cyclone Larry's path.