Cardwell decimated by Cyclone Yasi
CARDWELL is being described as "ground zero" of cyclone Yasi, with the small coastal town absolutely wiped out by the catastrophic winds and rain overnight.
The Cairns Post reporter Melanie Petrinec struggled to find words to describe the apocalyptic scenes as she arrived at Cardwell around 3pm today.
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"I don’t know what to say except that Cardwell is surely ground zero for cyclone Yasi, it has been utterly decimated," she said.
"As we drove in we saw a church where the only thing left standing are church pews, with a few bibles and prayer books strewn around, everything else of the church had been blown away.
"There are big trees absolutely everywhere, every single tree has been uprooted.
"You cannot tell that where I am standing there is bitumen on the Bruce Highway, it is now just covered in sand and trees."
Hundreds of large trees are strewn across the entire town, the Bruce Highway is now covered in debris and sand and many buildings and homes have lost their roofs.
Cyclone Yasi slammed into the coast with 300km/h winds around midnight near Mission Beach, less than 70kms from Cardwell.
"The motel we were booked into at Cardwell has had its roof blown off so we are very thankful we relocated to Innisfail yesterday," our reporter Mel Petrinec said.
"Another hotel nearby has its roof blown off.
"As we drove south towards Cardwell through Tully and other areas every single tree has been stripped of leaves and we don’t know how safe and structurally sound houses still standing are."