North Queensland residents realise Yasi's fury
Tropical Cyclone Yasi crossed the Queensland coast at midnight as a Category 5 cyclone making landfall at Mission Beach. Yasi continues to be downgraded, and continues to weaken as it move inlands.
As day breaks, many people are only just beginning to see the destruction that has been caused overnight by the violent wind gusts that swept across North Queensland.
The communities of Mission Beach, Tully, Innisfail and Cardwell are reported to be the hardest hit.
Seargent Dan Gallagher from Mission Beach says the community has been devastated.
"We managed to get out at first light.
"We have some houses that have been completely devastated," he says.
Ray Scaffidi from Mission Beach says this morning people are able to get out and assess the damage.
"Most people are going to come back to their properties and see the destruction and they're just going to burst out crying."
"It's like getting matches and breaking them and throwing them around."
"I think you realise the more important things in life."
Local Councillor in Tully, south of Innisfail, Ross Sorbello says the monster storm battered the town for more than two hours after making landfall.
He says he went through Cyclone Larry in his house. Yasi, he says, was twice as bad.
"I would say this house is demolishable."
The family decided to shelter downstairs. When that became too dangerous, they had no choice, says Ross but to jump into one of the three cars under the house.
Roller doors were ripped out by the wind.
"Once the eye of the cyclone came over, it blew out the roller door from the north side."
"We got rocked and rolled for about two hours after that until the wind slowly died down."
"I'm tipping that between 20 and 50 percent of the house have some structural damage."
There have been reports of cane bins being picked up blown down the track in Tully.
Stefanie Grimaz says she fled under her house for fear it was breaking up.
"Even now it's still blowing a gale and the scariest part we could hear tin and stuff blowing around outside we just didn't know if it was our roof or not.
"When the calm of the cyclone came we actually went outside to get underneath the house and we could see it wasn't our place it was our neighbours," she says.
As the cyclone battered the coast, authorities in Innisfail were helpless to calls of help because of the dangerous conditions.
The Deputy Mayor of the Cassowary Coast Council Mark Nolan says authorities weren't going to put more lives at risk during the cyclone.
"We are getting heaps of calls up here text messages people are really frightened anxiety levels are raging at a high level at the moment and they just want to know when the reprieve is coming looking forward to daylight powers out the winds are absolutely raging at the moment and there is a lot of anxious people out there that just want some security from police and emergency services."
In Townsville, residents were subjected to violent wind gusts and a storm surge that was expected to reach seven meters triggered by the severe category-five storm, as with thousands of people fled the danger zone.
Some, however remained in their homes to weather the storm.
Townsville resident Robert White lives in a fourth story waterfront unit.
He says through the cyclone's peak he struggled to stop his glass doors from shattering in the raging wind.
"The waves have been unbelievable and the wind, just I can't believe it and the wind I can't believe it.
"We've got a glass frontage on our unit and we've put our lounge suite and everything against the windows and the doors because they're all glass and we're just trying to hold them together at the moment," he says.
Cairns is said to have 'dodged a bullet' overnight with no reports of significant damage in the tourist city.
Therese from Mareeba, 60 kilometres inland of Cairns, says the town appears to have escaped the worst of it.
"We've had that gusting wind but I don't think any structural damage at our place at least.
"We still have phone we haven't lost the power we haven't lost the water so all in all we're feeling really quite fortunate," she says.
Just south of Cairns, Suzanne McClure says the cyclone has wreaked havoc in the marina at Port Hinchinbrook.
"What I'm seeing at the moment is the mass destruction of all the million dollar yachts and cruisers and everything that's been moored in this marina over the last few months.
"They're all sitting up in everybody's yards just smashed to pieces."
Ergon Energy North Queensland spokesperson John Fowler says they'll begin the task of restoring power as soon as it is safe to do.
"At last count we had about 174,000 customers off at the moment," he says.
"Certainly the region has felt the brunt of this cyclone."
He says conditions are still unsafe for crews to head out and assess the damage to powerlines.
"We're asking people to sit tight and only call us if they have information they can assist with the restoration," he says.
"Overall we have people without power from Cairns right down into parts of Mackay."
He says they're hoping crews can get out as early as today to start working on the network.
John says they're now concerned for lines out west which will cut power to towns and properties.
He says customers will need to be patient as they work to restore power.
"It will take time, it could take a couple of weeks and look in some cases it might only take three to five days," he says.