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    Australia braced for second cyclone


    by ODN


    Australia is braced for the second of two tropical cyclones heading for the flood-shattered country.

    On Monday Cyclone Anthony hit the Queensland state coast but quickly weakened from 80 mph winds to a tropical low.

    While the storm knocked down power lines and uprooted trees, communities were spared any major damage.

    It is feared that the country will not be so fortunate when Cyclone Yasi hits the coast on Wednesday or Thursday.

    Forecasters say the storm could be generating gales of more than 250 kph when it hits, which would put it on a par with Hurricane Katrina, which devastated New Orleans in 2005.

    Queensland Premier Anna Bligh told reporters: "This is a very serious threat, it may be one of the largest and most significant cyclones we've ever had to deal with."

    Disaster management officials are on alert and evacuation centres available if needed.

    Queensland, which accounts for about a fifth of Australia's economy and 90 per cent of its exports of coal, has borne the brunt of a cruel summer, with floods having swept across the eastern seaboard in the past month, killing at least 35 people.