Larry Lashes Northern Australia

March 20, 2006

Tropical Cyclone Larry hit Northern Australia as a category 5 storm with winds of up to 290 kph (175 mph) the most powerful in memory. Larry came ashore near the town of Innisfail in the State of Queensland, about 100 kms (62 miles) south of Cairns.

Thousands of people were forced to evacuate their homes, as the winds ripped the roofs off of buildings and severely damaged many structures. Although a number of minor injuries have been reported, there has so far, remarkably, been no loss of life. More than 50,000 homes are without electric power and many roads are impassable.

Prime Minister John Howard declared a state of emergency and said help was on the way to the stricken areas.

In addition to the structural damages, which appear to be substantial, authorities also fear heavy agricultural losses as the storm ravaged the region’s banana and sugar cane crops.

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