No response to calls for help

PEOPLE affected by the might of Cyclone Yasi have been calling emergency services for help but will remain on their own at least until first light.

Frustrated emergency services are powerless to go to their aid as Yasi continues to unleash its ferocity across North Queensland.

The Category 5 cyclone is taking several hours to pass over areas, with residents forced to endure howling winds and the sound of destruction around them.

The cyclone is reported to have ripped the roofs off buildings in several towns but the extent of the damage will not be known until the morning.

In Townsville, a predicted three-metre storm surge appears not to have eventuated so far, helped by an outgoing tide as the cyclone crossed the coast.

However, 75 per cent of the city is reported to be without power.

Reports suggest the wind has eased off slightly in Townsville and the worst may be over for the battered city.

However, authorities are still warning people not to go outside to check for damage when there is a lull in the storm, as they may be in the eye with more destructive winds to come.

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