Flood ravaged Queensland is preparing for a monstrous South Pacific Ocean Tropical Cyclone Yasi. Forecast to reach Category 4+ strength on the familiar Saffir-Simpson scale, there really is nothing inhibiting this storm from explosively intensifying and reaching 135 knots+ in terms of sustained winds. Ocean heat content below Yasi is high and sufficient to maintain a very intense TC. As the USA deals with the upcoming blizzard with a couple feet of snow forecast for the Midwest, the ongoing Southern Hemisphere summer produces tropical cyclones. In terms of history, Yasi will likely be compared to Cyclone Larry (2006) which made landfall somewhat north of the forecast track of Yasi. However, the circulation of Yasi is considerably larger and, if it maintains it intensity until landfall, could be one of the strongest and largest TCs to make landfall in Australia in the past century.
Forecasting and Predictability note: The ECMWF forecast model has been consistently forecasting a major tropical cyclone near or over Queensland on Feb 3 for the last 7-days: Link to last 14-Forecast Cycles. This demonstration of 10-day TC track skill is quite impressive.