The storm passed directly over Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, but there was no immediate word on what damage the reef may have suffered. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! SYDNEY, Australia – A powerful tropical cyclone ripped the roofs off buildings and uprooted trees in northeastern Australia, tearing across the region today with devastating winds that pinned emergency workers inside despite pleas from terrified residents. With winds up to 180 mph, Tropical Cyclone Larry smashed into the coastal community of Innisfail, about 60 miles south of Cairns, a popular jumping-off point for the Great Barrier Reef, sending hundreds of tourists and residents fleeing for higher ground. Des Hensler, an Innisfail resident, sheltered alone in a church, up to his ankles in water. “I don’t get scared much, but this is something to make any man tremble in his boots,” he told the Seven television network. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORE‘Mame,’ ‘Hello, Dolly!’ composer Jerry Herman dies at 88 A Queensland state police spokeswoman at Innisfail said three people had so far been reported injured, including a woman struck by flying glass. Police had not yet been able to venture out because the winds were still too strong, she said. Queensland state Premier Peter Beattie declared a state of emergency. “It’s the worst cyclone we’ve had in decades,” Beattie told the Nine television today. The Bureau of Meteorology had upgraded the cyclone to a category five – the strongest category possible – shortly before it crossed the coast, but then lowered it to a category four after the storm hit land.
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