Wednesday morning (Eastern Time), cyclone Yasi made landfall as a powerful Category Four storm (Category 5 on Australia's scale) along Australia's northeastern coast in Queensland with maximum sustained winds of 155 mph. (What we call hurricanes, Australians call cyclones).
Peak 3-sec wind gusts of about 170 mph were recorded near Mission Beach where the storm came ashore according to Reuters.
Reuters also reports Yasi is expected to cost insurers around AUS $3.5 billion, the second most damaging Australian cyclone on record after cyclone Tracy which struck Darwin in 1974. ABC News Australia posted an incredible photo gallery of some of the devastation in the region.
The Associated Press reports that amazingly the large, intense storm, equivalent to the size of Italy, has resulted in no deaths:
Officials said lives were spared because, after days of increasingly dire warnings, people followed instructions to flee to evacuation centers or bunker themselves at home in dozens of cities and towns in Yasi's path.
In addition, the heart of the storm missed the region's most populated areas according to reports.
While the storm's worst rains are north of the same area inundated by severe flooding in recent months, numerous flood warnings are currently in effect for parts of Queensland.
ABC News Australia has the latest on Yasi - now classified as remnant low.