A Northeast Australia city is battening down the hatches for a cyclone that might be stronger than one nearly five years ago that destroyed the majority of the nation's banana crop and severely damaged fields of sugar cane, Bloomberg reports.
Within weeks of flooding wreaking havoc on commodity trade in the State of Queensland, the 175-mile-per-hour winds of Cyclone Yasi are scheduled to touch down on the coastal city of Cairns on Thursday. Yasi is "a potentially dangerous cyclone exceptionally large in size," according to the Bureau of Meteorology.
"This storm is huge, and it is life-threatening," Queensland Premier Anna Bligh said. "We do have time to prepare, but that time is now."
Queensland is in the process of recovering from flooding that began in November. Now in the thick of the rainy season, Queensland faces slower growth and the economy is hobbled by costs of at least $5 billion in damages.
Yasi is projected to strike an area that accounts for approximately 33 percent of sugarcane production in Australia.
"It's not looking all that positive for those that are going to be impacted, and it looks like it could be a pretty wide area," Steve Greenwood, chief executive officer of producer group Canegrowers, told the news service. "We are talking about a substantial part of the cane-growing areas."
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