The National- Thursday, February 3, 2011
By JASON GIMA WURI
TREES were uprooted and a temporary blackout was reported in Alotau and parts of Milne Bay yesterday morning as Cyclone Yasi passed through the Coral Sea producing strong gust winds of between 30 and 45 knots.
Milne Bay provincial disaster coordinator Eric Balaria confirmed the reports.
The cyclone was heading towards the Australian state of Queensland and made landfall at 10pm PNG time.
“The strong surge of wind between 10am and noon caused minimal destruction.
“We also received reports that some houses had their ridge caps blown away, banana and betelnut trees were uprooted and a temporary blackout, allegedly caused by tree branches falling across power lines,” Balaria, who was at East Cape, 50km out of Alotau town, monitoring the situation, said.
Confirmed reports said straight after the strong winds subsided, rain and thunderstorms took over.
No major incidents had been reported.
Officials were hopeful to get updates from the outer islands by today.
Meanwhile, the National Weather Service in Port Moresby confirmed that Cyclone Yasi had moved onto North Queensland.
Senior broadcaster Kwekweina Maiwori said by yesterday afternoon, the cyclone was 345km east of Cairns.
“PNG’s area of responsibility has been cancelled as the cyclone is moving west southwesterly and will directly hit the coast of North Queensland at a category 5 level and travelling at a speed of 280km per hour.
“In Milne Bay, gale winds warning of 34-45 knots, which were felt earlier yesterday, have been cancelled.
“Winds of 25 knots will still be in the Milne Bay area for another 24 hours,” Maiwori said.
“Because of the unpredictability of the wind and the rains, we should continue to stay clear of the waters and take extra care until NWS clears the weather warnings in the next few days.”