This could be our Katrina

Cyclone Yasi is closing in on north Queensland. It’s category 5, of a size and packing a punch that puts it on level pegging with hurricane Katrina, the monster storm that tore New Orleans apart in 2005.

Five years ago, Innisfail suffered the brunt of cyclone Larry. Three quarters of the state is still recovering from massive flooding. Now this.

Spare a thought for Queensland, hunkered down with Yasi expected to hit the coast in just five hours. Yasi’s coming in on a full tide — huge storm tides are predicted, just to add to the woe.

How big is Yasi? Handy reference maps.

The Bureau of Meterology radar shows how the rainfall is following Yasi’s cyclonic motion.

The ABC’s website seems to be among the better ones of posting up-to-date warnings without sucking up too much bandwidth. The network’s 24-hour news channel is feeding in reports from all over the far north.

I’ve been watching the rain radar, tracking the storm’s approach, dumbstruck by the size and the inexorable nature of the disaster now unfolding. It doesn’t give an impression of the wind and the surge and the godawful racket that wind is going to make, for hours and hours while the storm works its way inland.

Good luck and godspeed up there.

Addendum: I just heard that Yasi is likely to reach Mt Isa on Friday as a category 1 cyclone. The town’s about 900km from Townsville on the east coast. I’m sorry, but WTF?