21 Mar 2010

Cyclone Ului downgraded to tropical low in Queensland

8:53 pm on 21 March 2010

Cyclone Ului has been downgraded to a tropical low as the system moves inland in north Queensland.

It crossed the coast as a category three cyclone early on Sunday morning near Airlie Beach, north of Mackay, with winds of 200km/hour before steadily losing strength.

Authorities say the flood risk has eased to areas north of Mackay after the system dumped up to 450mm of rain on some parts.

The ABC reports that emergency services took more than 750 calls for help and about 60,000 homes were blacked out across the region at the height of the cyclone.

Roofs were blown off at least a dozen homes and some residents were forced to move in with friends and family after their homes were declared unsafe.

Hundreds of hectares of sugar cane crops north of Mackay were flattened.

But authorities say the flood threat is easing.

In Queensland, extra State Emergency Service crews are to be sent to north Queensland to help with the clean-up following the impact of Tropical Cyclone Ului.

The Premier, Anna Bligh, who is inspecting damage in nearby Proserpine with Emergency Services Minister Neil Roberts, says there's been reports that some islands off Mackay had air conditioners sucked out of walls.