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El Niño/La Niña-Southern Oscillation, or ENSO, is a quasi-periodic climate pattern that occurs across the tropical Pacific Ocean with on average five year intervals. It is characterized by variations in the temperature of the surface of the tropical eastern Pacific Ocean - warming or cooling known as El Niño and La Niña respectively - and air surface pressure in the tropical western Pacific - the Southern Oscillation. The two variations are coupled: the warm oceanic phase, El Niño, accompanies high air surface pressure in the western Pacific, while the cold phase, La Niña, accompanies low air surface pressure in the western Pacific. Mechanisms that cause the oscillation remain under study.
By comparison Larry, which devastated Innisfail and surrounds in 2006, was a mid-level category four system.
Larry damaged about 10,000 homes and caused $1.5 billion in damage.
"This of course is not only a system now tracking as more intense than Cyclone Larry, it is significantly larger than Cyclone Larry," she said.
Cyclone Yasi was barreling toward the Queensland state coast as a strong Category 3 storm on Tuesday with winds up to 137 mph. It was expected to hit the coast Wednesday as a violent Category 4 storm with wind gusts up to 155 mph, dumping up to three feet of rain on communities already saturated from months of flooding.
SEVERE TROPICAL CYCLONE YASI, CATEGORY 3, with gusts up to 220 km/h is currently moving in a westerly direction at 35km/hr but is expected to turn on a more west-southwesterly direction in the next 12 hours.
DAMAGING winds with gusts to 100km/hr are expected to develop on the islands during Wednesday morning and extend onto the coast during the day and extend inland across southern Cape York Peninsula and north of Charters Towers overnight Wednesday.
Australian Government Bureau of Meteorology
Tropical Cyclone Warning Centre
Media: The Standard Emergency Warning Signal should NOT be used with this
TROPICAL CYCLONE ADVICE NUMBER 5
Issued by the Bureau of Meteorology, Brisbane
Issued at 11:09am EST on Tuesday the 1st of February 2011
A Cyclone WARNING has been declared for coastal areas from Cooktown to Sarina.
A Cyclone WATCH has been declared for coastal areas from Lockhart River to
Cooktown and Sarina to Yeppoon and for southern Cape York Peninsula and inland
areas north of Charters Towers.
At 10:00 am EST Severe Tropical Cyclone Yasi, Category 3 was estimated to be
1220 kilometres east northeast of Cairns and 1200 kilometres east northeast of
moving west at 35 kilometres per hour.
The cyclone is expected to continue intensifying as it moves west over the Coral