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Storm batters Australian coast towns; no deaths

• AP
One of the most powerful storms ever recorded in Australia pulled houses apart and snapped power poles as it ripped across already flood-sodden Queensland state Thursday, leaving authorities relieved that no one was killed.

Officials had issued days of increasingly dire warnings, and said lives were spared because people followed instructions to flee to evacuation centers or bunker themselves at home in dozens of cities and towns in Cyclone Yasi's path on the northeast coast.