20 March, 2006

Cyclone Larry Rips Australia

A powerful cyclone packing winds of up to 180mph ripped the roofs off buildings and destroyed houses as it tore across the north-eastern Australian coast early today, police said.

Tropical cyclone Larry smashed into the coastal community of Innisfail, about 62 miles south of Cairns, a popular jumping-off point for the Great Barrier Reef. A police spokeswoman said the storm had ripped roofs off buildings throughout Innisfail and sent trees crashing across roads.

Police had been unable to leave their station, despite hundreds of calls for help, she said. "Homes are literally crumbling around them."

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