SYDNEY — A strong tropical cyclone roaring toward Australia’s flood-ravaged northeast will probably cause powerful and deadly flash-flooding, officials warned today, as residents braced for what is predicted to be one of the fiercest storms the region has ever seen.
Cyclone Yasi was barreling toward the Queensland state coast as a strong Category 3 storm today with winds up to 137 miles per hour. It was expected to hit the coast tomorrow as a violent Category 4 storm with wind gusts up to 155 miles per hour, dumping heavy rain on communities saturated from months of flooding.
“We could see very powerful flash flooding that will be dangerous and potentially deadly,’’ said Anna Bligh, Queensland’s premier. Yasi is expected to be the second storm to batter Queensland in a week. Cyclone Anthony hit the coast early yesterday morning and quickly weakened from 80-mile-per-hour winds to a tropical low. The storm uprooted trees and knocked down power lines in some areas.
Queensland has had months of flooding since heavy rains began lashing the state in November. The flood waters killed 35 people, damaged or destroyed 30,000 homes and businesses, and left Brisbane, the country’s third-largest city and the state capital, under water for days.