One of the most powerful cyclones on record slammed into Australia’s coast on Thursday, uprooting trees, tearing off roofs and bringing down power lines but there were no reports of deaths.
Cyclone Yasi, packing winds of up to 300 km (186 miles) an hour near its core, come ashore along hundreds of kilometers of northeast coastline late on Wednesday.
Mines, rail lines and coal ports have been shut, with officials warning the storm could drive far inland, hitting mining areas of Queensland state struggling to recover from recent devastating floods.
Queensland accounts for about a fifth of Australia’s economy and 90 percent of its steelmaking coal exports but the extent and of the damage might not be known for many hours.
The eye of the cyclone crossed the coast close to the tourist town of Mission Beach at around midnight.
“It sounds like a roaring train going over the top of the house. There are trees cracking outside,” Hayley Leonard told Seven Network television from a concrete bunker beneath her home in the town of Innisfail.
Police received numerous reports of widespread damage but no reports of injuries of deaths, the Courier Mail newspaper said on its Website.