Sydney:A ‘Destructive’ cyclone roaring towards a heavily-populated Australia province has intensified to a category five, the most severe ranking, meteorologists said on February 20, as second powerful storm made landfall further north. Tropical Cyclone Marcia was upgraded with gusts of 285 kilometers per hour, Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology said, with the storm expected to slam into the Queensland coast this morning. Further north, Tropical Cyclone Lam also intensified to a category four storm as it made landfall near the sparsely populated Northern Territory Aboriginal communities of Milingimbi and Gapuwiyak early today with wind gusts of 250 kilometers an hour.
Meteorologists described both storms as having a “very destructive” core. Cyclones, which are common in northeastern Australia, range from one to five in strength, with five the most severe, capable of causing structural damage, uprooting trees and overturning caravans and trailers. Massive seas, a deluge of rain, flash flooding and gusts of up to 295 kilometers per hour are forecast along with abnormally high tides when Marcia hits somewhere between the towns of Mackay and Gladstone.Queensland has been smashed by several major storms and cyclones over the past few years with Cyclone Oswald, also a category five, flooding parts of the state in 2013, racking up insurance claims of some USD 765 million.