It’s been really quiet for the last few hours. Yasi has been downgraded to category 4 and slowed which – on the surface – looks like a good thing. But while the reduced speed lowers the size of coastal waves, it also means the winds stay in any one place longer, leaving more damage in Yasi’s wake.

The reports of the past few hours have mostly revolved around power outages, panicked calls from people who now want to be rescued after refusing to evacuate earlier on… and the fact that the core of Yasi shifted south by more than 125 km on landfall, a natural phenomenon that cannot be predicted with any degree of accuracy. It amazes me how the meteorologists can so accurately predict as much as they do.

The roof blew off an evacuation centre in Cairns but no one was injured. Those who stayed behind in Cairns are no doubtedly saying thanks to whomever it is that runs the universe for letting Yasi slide ‘a little to the left’, leaving them all a bit more breathing room.

Sky News Australia is the best bet for gleaning accurate and constant up to date news on Yasi (either on cable or online) as she continues to dig further into Northern Queensland.  As I connect this link the new report says Yasi is now a category 3. That’s good news 🙂

Now that first light is here I’m sure the visual reports of Yasi’s destruction will be coming to all the airwaves. But I hope not too many venture out into this mess as the winds are still strong and gusting and the outdoors is chockers with flying debris.

My sunrise was so calm it was eerie. I stood on my back porch and took this photo:

Facing north it’s hard to imagine that these innocent-looking clouds represent the outer edges of a massive monster that has terrorized hundreds of thousands of Queenslanders for the past five days straight. It’s also hard for me to imagine that these cloud formations over my backyard are part of a storm that reaches almost the entire length of my state.

In the coming days I’ll add links for making donations – the folder is just over there > with the links already in place for last month’s flood victims.

I should mention that the government did one Hell of a job preparing people and whole towns for this event. 50 Energex volunteers have been standing by south of Townsville, prepared to rush in as soon as the sky is clear to fix downed powerlines. Another hundred are on standby ready to fly in as they become needed.

4 Navy ships are on the water, prepared to act as command center to coordinate emergency and clean up services and outfitted with medical supplies and personnel – just in case.

400 Army troops are stationed in the areas and have already helped by doing the doorknock to urge people to take shelter rather than stay in their homes and to assist the transfer of our oldies from nursing homes in Yasi’s path.

The Air Force took charge of evacuating Cairns hospitals, transporting hundreds of patients to the safety of Brisbane hospitals. It will be their helicopters in charge of search and rescue.

Australian pollies all earned their pay this week – and most deserve bonus cheques on top, in my humble opinion. Qld Premier, Anna Bligh, with the hands-on assistance and full support of Australia’s Prime Minister Julia Gillard showed the world how governing is meant to work:  The needs of the citizens come first  and the politics step out of the way so that can happen.

And to my readers and commenters, in case I’ve not said this lately, thank you for all your kind support – you are all so very much appreciated  – OzMud