Cairns, Townsville Step Up Cyclone Preparations

"Cairns is in lock-down and thousands of people are being ordered out of their homes in Townsville as the north Queensland cities prepare for category five Cyclone Yasi and major flooding.

Police will close all roads this morning and residents and businesses in the Cairns CBD, Machans Beach, Yorkeys Knob, Holloways Beach, Port Douglas and Bramston Beach, have been told to seek refuge with friends and family.
More than 250 patients have been evacuated from the Cairns Base Hospital and temporary evacuation shelters have been set up at six sites from Babinda to Mossman.

The Cairns Base Hospital's emergency department has closed and they have been operating from Fretwell Park sportsground, at Edmonton, from 9am (AEST). Six evacuation centres have been set up across Cairns.

A major shopping centre at Earlville has thrown open its doors as an evacuation centre and hundreds of residents have lined up to seek shelter. School have been shut."