An ex-pat from Oswaldtwistle has told of her terrifying ordeal during cyclone Yarsi which struck Cairns in Australia last week.
Ashley Linklater, 23, described how she and husband Matt had to shelter in a homemade bunker while the storm raged overhead their house in Woree, Cairns.
Locals had been warned to expect the worst storm in Australian history as the category five cyclone with winds of up to 180 miles per hour headed straight for the popular beach resort.
Only a month earlier Queensland was hit by floods in the south of the state which killed more than 30 people.
Fortunately the carnage was less severe than first feared, although there was still widespread damage to properties and thousands were left without power for several days.
Ashley, who first came to Australia as a backpacker two years ago before meeting husband Matt, said it was an experience she would never forget.
"It was completely terrifying," she said.
"The wind was so loud it sounded like the whole house would lift off the ground.
"I just grabbed hold of Matt and dug my arms into him.
"It was very scary. The lightning was so bright you could still see it with your eyes closed.
"Afterwards we found part of somebody’s roof in our garden and there were huge trees completely uprooted out of the ground."
Ashley’s parents, Clare and Chris Rigby, were almost 10,000 miles away back in the family’s home on New Lane, Oswaldtwistle.
"The power went out and I didn’t know when I would be able to speak to them again," said Ashley.
"About 24 hours later I got my phone signal back and I rang my mum and woke her up.
"I was so happy to hear her voice I was crying.
"They were really scared about what would happen to us and were just relieved to hear we were okay."
Despite the extreme weather conditions Down Under, Ashley doesn’t think she will be able to convince Matt to come and live back in Lancashire. "I don’t think he could cope with the cold!" she joked.