On February 1, 2011, Cyclone Yasi continued on its path toward Queensland, Australia. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite captured this natural-color image at 10:00 a.m. Queensland time (00:00 Universal Time) on February 1. The storm extends over the Solomon Islands and grazes Papua New Guinea. Part of the Queensland coast appears in the lower left corner.
At 1:00 a.m. Queensland time on February 2, the U.S. Navy’s Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC) reported that Yasi was roughly 450 nautical miles (835 kilometers) east-northeast of Cairns, Australia. Sporting a well-defined eye, Yasi had maximum sustained winds of 120 knots (220 kilometers per hour) and gusts up to 145 knots (270 kilometers per hour). Favorable conditions led the storm to intensify rapidly over the Pacific Ocean.
JTWC forecasters said Yasi would continue to strengthen and remain on a west-southwest track. The storm was expected to make landfall just south of Cairns, bringing high winds and storm surges. The Sydney Morning Herald reported that tens of thousands of residents were evacuating ahead of the storm’s anticipated landfall late on February 2 or early February 3.
NASA image by Jeff Schmaltz, MODIS Rapid Response Team at NASA GSFC. Caption by Michon Scott.