I just saw on the Net a satellite image of the monster cyclone now approaching the east coast of Australia, and I'm wondering if there will be much left of Queensland after it hits. The state of Queensland, still reeling from the effects of weeks of widespread flooding, is bracing for the arrival of what could be the state's worst cyclone in history. There are fears that Yasi could whip up the seas and create a storm surge that would cause significant flooding in low-lying areas, just weeks after devastating floods killed more than 30 people and covered an area the size of France and Germany combined.
Forecasters have predicted that the storm could bring winds of 160mph – putting it on a par with Hurricane Katrina – and up to four feet of rain in a matter of hours. It is feared that the system could be worse than Cyclone Larry, which devastated the town of Innisfail in 2006 causing $1bn worth of damage. Large swaths of northern Queensland are still saturated and authorities fear that heavy rain from the cyclone could cause further inundation. The Bureau of Meteorology has issued a cyclone warning covering a huge section of Queensland's coast stretching 560 miles – nearly the length of Britain. The most destructive storm in Australian history was Cyclone Tracy, which in 1974 flattened Darwin, killing 65 people and leaving only about 400 of the city's 11,200 houses intact.
So much for "Beautiful one day, perfect the next". What have they done to deserve all this? But it isn't just happening in Australia.
Flooding and mudslides sparked by more than a week of heavy rains in the mountain range inland from Rio de Janeiro have claimed a staggering 812 lives, civil defense officials said Monday. In addition, some 6000 people lost their homes or had to abandon them amid fears of likely collapses, officials said.
The full extent of the Rio state disaster, reported to be the worst natural catastrophe in Brazil's history, is not yet entirely known, with many people still in areas cut off from land access receiving help from helicopter crews.
And in Malaysia...
TWO people have been killed and tens of thousands evacuated in floods that have hit parts of Malaysia after several days of continuous rain. Two women were killed in separate incidents when their cars were swept away by floodwaters in southern Johor state yesterday, according to state news agency Bernama.
The Star newspaper said that more than 37,000 people had been evacuated to 200 relief centres in Johor. Several main roads had been cut and electricity supplies have also been hit.
And there is much more. A volcano in Japan, another disaster in Indonesia (I haven't been able to pinpoint the details of that one yet), a train crash in Germany, and so it goes on. But no doubt there are still people who will see this as the most important news on the internet right now:
1 hour agoJUST when St Kilda thought things could not get any worse, an off-field scandal featuring players mixing pills with alcohol last night threatened to derail the club on the eve of the 2011 season.
Excuse me while I vomit...