So a big thank you to everyone who prayed for North Queensland.
Though the danger is not yet over, the effects of the cyclone have been miraculously mild, with no deaths or serious injuries reported as yet, given its appalling strength (winds up to 300km/hr) and size (six hundred kms wide).
The cyclone changed its timing, and thus the tidal surges (flooding) were not as high as they could have been if the cyclone had coincided with the high tide as originally predicted. And most importantly, it hit the coast in a relatively unpopulated region, with Cairns (my sister and family are fine - no power and lots of uprooted trees but house seems to be ok!) getting off very lightly indeed, and Townsville similarly not too badly hit.
There is of course a lot of damage - power is out to 170,000 people and will take weeks to restore in some areas, power lines are down making travel dangerous, and pictures of houses cut in half and other devastation are starting to emerge. The sugar cane and banana crops have been utterly destroyed, and all up the cost impact is estimated to be up to $42 billion. Still, the most important thing is lives, and today in the Cairns evacuation centre, a baby was born, so a net gain so far!
So join me in singing a Te Deum today (after a lot of repetitions of "A fulgure et tempestate libera nos Domine" in the litany of the saints last night!).