Category four cyclone hits Australian coast

A powerful tropical cyclone packing winds of up to 290 kph (180 mph) ripped the roofs off buildings and destroyed houses as it tore across the northeastern Australian coast Monday, police said. Tropical cyclone Larry smashed into the coastal community of Innisfail, about 100 kilometers (62 kilometers) south of Cairns, a popular jumping-off point for the Great Barrier Reef, forecaster Jonty Hall said. The Bureau of Meteorology on Monday upgraded the cyclone to a category five - the strongest category possible - shortly before it crossed the coast, but then lowered it to a category four after the storm hit land.