Queenslanders have been told to prepare themselves for a terrifying 24 hours as the “most catastrophic storm ever” takes aim at heavily populated areas of the state’s north.
Severe Tropical Cyclone Yasi was upgraded to category five this morning as the weather bureau warned it was likely to be “more life-threatening” than any storm seen in Australia in living memory.
Tens of thousands of people are fleeing their homes ahead of the monster storm, which is expected to hit the coast between Cairns and Innisfail with winds of up to 295 kilometres per hour near the core.
Premier Anna Bligh says the storm’s expected landfall at about midnight AEST tonight is the worst possible news for a state which is already reeling from recent flooding.
She says Cyclone Yasi is the “most catastrophic storm to ever hit our coast”.
“Frankly, I don’t think Australia has ever seen a storm of this intensity in an area as populated as this stretch of our coast,” she said.
It looks like the storm is winding down in the St. Louis area. The snow that was supposed to wrap around the bottom of the storm and dump a lot of heavy snow appears to have moved north just enough to spare us.
We only have about 3 inches of sleet on the ground but areas within a hour from here got 8 to 12 inches of snow. The storm hit mid Missouri pretty hard. Columbia, Jefferson City and the Lake of the Ozarks got anywhere from 11 to 22 inches of snow and it’s still coming down. 231 miles of Interstate 70 is closed between Kansas City and Wentzville (just west of St. Louis).
We’re sending the storm on to our friends in Chicago and DJ in Ohio and then up to the east coast. Good luck!
Radar at right is from 6:20 pm CST. (Blue = Snow, Pink = Ice)
The freezing rain has left a light coating of ice on all exposed surfaces and now it’s turned to sleet. The sleet should turn into snow in this afternoon and it’s expected to snow the rest of the day. Winds are supposed to pick up this afternoon also. I’m on the south side of this storm and we should get more ice and less snow while those on the north of the storm will get more snow and less ice. Most schools, government offices and many businesses are closed today. I think tomorrow will be worse than today. They’re calling for anywhere from 6 to 15 inches of snow across the area. I have set up a time-lapse camera to record throughout the day. So hopefully I’ll be able post a video tomorrow.