How absolutely, monumentally huge is the cyclone closing in on the WhitSundays this morning?
This huge :
From ABC News :
It's not expected that Hamish will devastate Cairns, at least not right now. It is expected to stay far enough away from the coast to not destroy the place, so says the BOM, but The WhitSundays are apparently the big worry.
Cyclone Hamish has now intensified into a Category 5 system, creating winds in excess of 280 kilometres an hour, off the north-east coast of Queensland.
Residents and tourists are preparing to ride out the effects of the cyclone as it moves along the coast.
The outer edge of the massive storm, already 40km/h faster than Cyclone Larry which smashed Innisfail in 2006, will lash islands in the Whitsundays in the next few hours.
It continues moving south-east off the coast, and some islands in its path have been evacuated.
A Category 5 is rated as extremely dangerous and can cause widespread destruction.
Winds hitting 180kmh be roaring across some of the islands by 7am.