Emergency officials warned residents along hundreds of kilometers of Australia's northeastern coast to consider evacuating their homes as a powerful tropical storm bore down on them yesterday.
Tropical Cyclone Larry was expected to hit the coast of Queensland early today with wind gusts of up to 280kpm and storm surges of up to 2m, the weather bureau said.
"There will need to be some evacuations," Queensland Premier Peter Beattie told ABC radio.
"I want people to understand that the advice we're given is that it is very serious -- category four. The weather bureau says we haven't have one of these for decades," he said.
The bureau said the cyclone, pressing in from the Coral Sea east of Townsville, could worsen to Category Five -- the highest -- by the time it makes landfall.