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No Deaths Reported as Monster Cyclone Strikes Australian Coast


Local resident Selwyn Hughes (C) sits with his children outside an emergency cyclone shelter after it was declared full and the gate locked in Cairns, February 02, 2011

Local resident Selwyn Hughes (C) sits with his children outside an emergency cyclone shelter after it was declared full and the gate locked in Cairns, February 02, 2011

The premier of Australia's Queensland state, Anna Bligh, says first daylight has brought no reports of deaths or serious injuries after the worst cyclone in nearly 100 years tore across the country's northeastern coast.

Hundreds of thousands of Australians spent a terrifying night in shelters and hunkered down with friends as Cyclone Yasi raged outside, tearing off roofs and knocking out power.

The Category 5 (top strength) cyclone brought winds as high as 300 kilometers per hour. Parts of Australia's northeastern coast were told to expect as much as a meter of rain.

Ms. Bligh called Yasi a "monster killer storm." But when daylight broke, she said the early news was nothing like what she expected to hear.

The major coastal city of Cairns, a tourist hub, escaped major damage. But other towns and resorts have suffered extensive devastation.

Queensland already is saturated by weeks of rain-spawned flooding that killed 35 people.

The cyclone was expected to move inland to the west and gradually weaken.

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