Yasi to bring rain out west

THE effects of Yasi look set to be felt as far west as Esperance and as far south as Melbourne - and even Alice Springs could receive 100mm of rain this week.

Severe Tropical Cyclone Yasi crossed the coast at Mission Beach, 50km south of Innisfail, between midnight and 1am EST on Thursday morning.

Weather Channel meteorologist Tom Saunders said said the strength of Yasi at landfall can't be confirmed but it was at least a category four cyclone with wind gusts of over 200kmh.

"The nearest weather station at South Johnstone was knocked out for a few hours before Yasi," Mr Saunders said.

"But 70km to the south, Lucinda Point recorded peak gusts of 185kmh."

Yasi has caused heavy rain to fall across North Queensland, including 372mm at Bulgan Creek, inland of MIssion Beach, 150mm at Townsville Airport and 312mm at Woolshed, their heaviest rain iin thirteen years.

"The heavy rain has caused wide-spread flooding to develop between Cairns and Mackay, with areas of major flooding just south of Innisfail," Mr Saunders said.

A storm surge also developed as Yasi hit the coast.

"Yasi is now weakening rapidly but will spread heavy rain west through Australia's interior during the next few days," he said.

"The effects of Yasi will be felt as far west as Esperance and as far south as Melbourne.

"Even desert-like Alice Springs could receive over 100mm of rain through the coming weeks."

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