One of the most powerful storms to hit Australia in decades laid waste to its northeastern coast on Monday, but there were no serious injuries among about a dozen people reported hurt.

The mayor of the farming town where Cyclone Larry came ashore as a Category 5 storm told Australian television it looks as if "an atomic bomb hit the place."

Mayor Neil Clarke said survivors would be housed in tents at the town's airstrip. He said it was impossible to tell just how many people were in need of shelter, but he estimated the number would run into the thousands, Australian Broadcasting Corp. quoted him as saying on its Web site.