Yasi, Katrina-Sized Australia Cyclone, To Make Landfall Thursday

02/01/2011 02:15 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

A Katrina-sized cyclone is bearing down on Australia and is expected to make landfall Thursday.

*See Image Below"

Just weeks after the country was devastated by incredible flooding, Cyclone Yasi, now a category 5 cyclone, is bearing down on Australia. The cyclone is expected to make landfall on the Eastern islands Wednesday, eventually hitting the mainland on Thursday, according to the Australian Government's Bureau of Meteorology.

Yasi is moving in a west-southwesterly direction towards the North Queensland coast. The storm has tremendous potential for destruction and will likely cause damaging waves, strong currents, and flooding of low lying areas as tides rise far above normal.

According to the bureau, gusts could reach as much as 170 kph, or about 106 mph.

DAMAGING winds with gusts to 90 km/hr are expected to develop on the islands during Wednesday morning, then extend onto the coast during the day, and further inland across southern Cape York Peninsula and north of Charters Towers overnight.

Between Cooktown and Townsville these winds will become DESTRUCTIVE with gusts in excess of 125km/hr late Wednesday afternoon, and VERY DESTRUCTIVE with gusts ABOVE 170km/hr between Port Douglas and Cardwell during the evening as the cyclone approaches.

UPDATE: Yasi is currently a category 5 cyclone as it begins to hit the outer islands, but is expected to be a category 3 storm by the time it hits mainland Australia. For more on the expected path of the cyclone, click here for the Bureau of Meteorology.

UPDATE: See a more detailed image of the cyclone below, courtesy NASA Goddard Space Flight Center below.

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