Yasi Feature
Yasi Feature

10 YEARS ON: ‘Monster’ Yasi rattles crews

STANDING in a drought-ridden North Queensland town, Wayne Preedy could hardly believe the words "monster" and "never before seen" being used to predict the wet season ahead.

But that was exactly what followed during the summer of 2010/11, where Queensland towns were flooded, houses flattered, and the immense power of Cyclone Yasi's force was felt and never forgotten.

Mr Preedy, the former Northern Region Emergency Management regional director, was in charge of overseeing 17 local government areas and leading the North through Yasi's destruction.

It was predicted to be bigger than the infamous Hurricane Katrina, and was lining up to cross over Townsville as a category five on a high tide.

"That was a real eye opener," Mr Reedy said.

"Grown men were visibly shaking after the briefing … people started crying, and some dear friends lived in these storm surge zones.

"You could have heard a pin drop in a room of 80 people."

Wayne Preedy was a QFES Officer during Cyclone Yasi on 2011. Picture: Alix Sweeney
Wayne Preedy was a QFES Officer during Cyclone Yasi on 2011. Picture: Alix Sweeney

Busy trying to prepare his teams, Mr Reedy rushed home the afternoon before Yasi crossed on February 3, 2011 and huddled under the stairs in the "Harry Potter room" with his family and 65kg mastiff.

Above all, he remembers the noise.

"We got no sleep, I honestly thought our house was going to break apart. it was terrifying," Mr Preedy said.

He emerged from his bunker the next morning to find his fences and trees down, but relieved to be safe.

"I had to get a chainsaw to cut the trees and get my car out of the driveway."

"I remember driving to working thinking every tree in Townsville had been blown over … there was just vegetation everywhere.

"But we were so lucky, Tully was like a war zone. It's incredible what mother nature can do."

Mr Preedy said he learned a lot from Cyclone Yasi, and said it was never too early to prepare for cyclones in North Queensland.

"Listen to the advice, and don't underestimate cyclones."

"The time to plan is now."




Originally published as 10 YEARS ON: 'Monster' Yasi rattles crews