Everything in bold was copied directly from the paper.
Landfall: Near Mission Beach, about 50km south of Innisfail, just after midnight this morning
Size: 500km (310.7 miles) wide
Eye: 150km (93 miles) wide
Wind Gusts: 300km/h (186 miles/hour) expected
Storm Surge: Waves up to 9.5m (31 feet)
Rainfall: up to 1000mm (3 feet) expected
Damage: Potentially widespread destruction
Landfall: Florida, Louisiana and Mississippi, August 2005
Size: 640km (398 miles) wide Eye: 51km wide
Wind Gusts: 280km/h (174 miles/hour)
Storm Surge: Up to 8.5m (27 feet)
Rainfall: 300mm over eastern Louisiana (about one foot)
Damage: 1833 people killed, more than $100 billion damage.
I'm not sure about all of the actual statistics from today's cyclone. I believe they were accurate, though. I read that the wind speeds were about 290km/hr when it first hit land on Mission Beach. It seems that this storm was smaller than Katrina's, but it was stronger. As far as we know, Australia has never seen anything like this monster.
Thousands of people will be homeless, and even more people are without power. You can read more coverage here, and there are also links to pictures and videos. I read so many sad stories on there. One man recalled going to his brother in-law's home in Cardwell, Qld. The wind and rain were so loud that they didn't even know that the storm ripped the roof off the house. They took shelter in the downstairs bathroom, but they had to move when the roof above them caved in from all of the water.
There are so many unfortunate stories like that. Farmers will lose their livelihoods for a while as their banana and sugarcane farms are swept away, families will not have homes to return to, and the tourism industry will suffer tremendously. As I've heard again and again through this summer, though, Queensland is no stranger to heartache and will come back stronger. They are resilient people.
Yasi has now downgraded to a category one storm and will hit the mining town of Mt. Isa in a few hours. From there, it will makes its way across the center of the country through the Northern Territory. This will unfortunately hit people in rural Australia. While it's a much weaker storm, it's still very dangerous. Parts of South Australia will also be affected. There are flash flooding warnings for the weekend. We're likely to get rain in Adelaide, although it won't be anything serious. Adelaide is very lucky when it comes to weather.
Now, what is going on with this SNOW? Al sent me this photo from news.com.au today. Does anybody from Chicago recognize where this is?