Airports in the north-eastern corner of Australia were badly affected yesterday morning when one of the country's worst tropical cyclones hit.

Around 07:30 yesterday the Cyclone Larry reached land. The cyclone reached the maximum "category five" severity level, making it the most powerful recorded in Australia for over a century. Winds of up to 295km/h (160kt) were recorded as the cyclone ripped through the coastal town of Innisfail, around 100km (62 miles) south of Cairns and surrounding communities in Northern Queensland.

The storm smashed through thousands of homes and businesses, uprooted trees and ravaged banana and sugar crops, leaving a trail of destruction along 300km of coastline. Early estimates suggest the damage bill could be as high as A$1 billion ($425 million). 

A hangar was wrecked and an aircraft overturned in Cairns International airport (pictured below). Cairns and Townsville airports were closed for part of yesterday and the smaller airfields of Cooktown, Hayman Island, Porsepine, Mackay, Bowen and Airlie Beach were also affected.

Cairns VH-AIH upturned W445
© Cairns Post / News Limited

However, worse damage was avoided by the removal of many aircraft from Townsville and Cairns ahead of the storm hitting. Airlines cancelled flights into both airports prior to the high winds. Normal services were resumed this morning.


Source: Flight International