At the Online version of the Herald Sun, the National news section has these tidbits on the menu:

This is a newspaper which primarily services Victoria so of course their focus would be on the Victorian tourists currently lodged at the islands to the east of Qld. Victoria has also suffered from early-on January floods but has had a chance to return to a bit of normalcy. You know, like keeping their vacation plans rather than cancelling…

Frasier Island is a popular tourist spot for many Australians. It has an old world feel amid modern conveniences and the swimming, scuba diving, fishing and hiking are par excellence. Roughly 2000 guests and staffers are being ushered off the island as fast as the government can organise it.

This particular news article addresses this rushed exodus with emphasis on the fact that the government is footing the bill for guests and stafers alike, and that buses on the mainland will be on hand to take people wherever it is they need to go – as long as it’s far, far away from Queensland.

The words in the article fade into the whitish background of the page however, once you open the link and are face to face with the villain of the piece – Cyclone Yasi. The lone visual  pretty much puts everything else into perspective. That white outline in the bottom left corner represents Queensland at 668,204 sq kilometres:

I’ve marked on the map where hubbs and I live. We’ve always been blessed by not being in the direct path of a tropical storm, cyclone or flood. This time though there’s a cyclone the size of my whole state bearing down on us and it looks as if we’re all in this big boy’s path.

Unlike Anthony which was downgraded to a non-cyclone category as it touched land, Yasi is expected to gain momentum and strength. It is currently a category two and predicted to be a category four on touchdown.

This is less than 48 hours away. I’m off to help restock the emergency rations and supplies. And I wouldn’t mind if any of you out there wanted to light a candle or two.

Welcome to the wet season 🙂

==========  UPDATE  ==========

Latest satellite images (MTSAT Infrared Colorized Images)  set into moving loops  can be seen here. This screenshot is from 5pm Au-EST [click to enlarge]

Live video coverage with timestamped, posted updates can be found at here:  I can’t embed live coverage, but it’s worth the time to go look at all the different agencies that have weighed in and track the progression of the biggest evacuation event the country has ever tackled.

Above is a helicopter’s view of one portion of Whitsundays Hamilton Island.  It’s in Yasi’s direct path and the entire island is being evacuated.  Now imagine the huge portion of the mainland, directly behind Whitsundays and try to picture it as being evacuated as well.

Below is a satellite image offered from the Japan Meteorological Agency at 1pm today (it’s 5pm as I write this):

We’re told the eye of Cyclone Yasi is 100km across. People are being warned not to confuse  being in the eye with being at the end. The storm isn’t actually over yet. It’s more like a football game’s halftime. Yasi is so big it will take an hour for the eye to pass and then it’s right back to game on.

Thanks to all for the lit candles, good energies, hugs and prayers- keep ’em coming!