Cyclone Warning

The top end of Queensland is prone to cyclones. Some years there are several relatively small ones, every so often they get a big one.

As some of you may know cyclones are rather unpredictable. The longer they are over water, the bigger they get … and no one seems to be able to predict exactly where they will cross the land.

I am always impressed by the way our Emergency Services react here – whether it’s cyclones, bush fires or whatever. They really are the epitome of the Boy Scouts Motto: Always Be Prepared. They are an amazing bunch of people – some paid by the State and others work as volunteers.

Cyclone Debbie is due to hit the top end of Queensland sometime tomorrow (Tuesday) morning over a low-lying area which will almost certainly flood.

For the first time ever, I’ve heard the Emergency Services telling people to remember that they cannot respond to calls in the height of the emergency. And I don’t blame them – people are point-blank refusing to evacuate.

I’m pretty sure that I’d grab my computer, such few ‘memories’ I have, and get myself to the nearest cyclone shelter… how about you?

18 thoughts on “Cyclone Warning”

  1. I understand the impulse to remain. One feels safest at home after all. It is, however, always easiest to feel confident when not in the midst of a natural catastrophe. So long as things appear normal warnings can conveniently be ignored. Sometimes storms blow over or shift direction. Sometimes storms aren’t as severe as thought. At other times, one is well and truly buggered.I,for one, have no desire to try my luck. I’d take my trusty Toshiba, some clothing and run.

  2. Getting away isn’t always an option! I recall the June night when a cloudburst and flash flood invaded our house in Derbyshire. The water entered by the backdoor and exited by the front! We found we could filter it as it ignored the french windows by stuffing towels around the edges. At least we kept the soil deposits to a minimum.

  3. I was caught up in a hurricane in Mobile AL. We left town as fast as we could drive north!
    But then we were only visiting. We used to be a regular tornado alley in Memphis and I never left home. We had an internal bathroom downstairs that I fitted out with pillows and had a sheet of marine ply cut to fit the bath top. As it went to alarm status, in went the boy and I and stayed till the all clear. Much safer than trying to drive anywhere. Happened regularly.

    Had a couple of houses in Wales that flooded regularly. All you need is flagged floors, area rugs and no overstuffed sofas! Everything in the kitchen bottom shelves lived in milk crates and could be lifted up on the counters. It never flooded more that 15″ caused by how the Victorians had embanked the railway! I always knew when it would happen. Used to go and hang over LLangadog bridge and when a certain water meadow, was just that! You could reckon to go under in three hours time. Only thing of great inconvenience was moving the car to higher ground half a mile away. My fridge lived on a stone plinth 2′ off the ground and all the electrics were waist height. It had always flooded. The back door was permanently sandbagged every winter, 200 beautiful cows right next door! As j said, a great need to filter the water. floating cowpats are not good! Strange how one gets used to such things, just regarded them as part of life. I have never understood why people throw things away after floods, most can be cleaned up and put back into service.

    I think re your cyclone needs careful looking at as to whether one leaves or not. How deep has it ever flooded before? How low is the centre of the cyclone. How deep could it putatively flood. A couple of feet is one thing, ten is quite another! Lot of people drowned in New Orleans in one storey houses! Perhaps as a geographer I am too analytical but I suspect most people would be better off leaving especially those that cannot get into their loft spaces and break through a roof!

  4. Christina: It’s been upgraded to a Cat 4 – may go to a cat 5. Tidal surges of of at least 2.5 expected. Most of the houses in Darwin had ‘safe places’ such as you describe. Apparently many houses in the area about to be hit are pretty old and will not withstand much buffetting.

  5. An 8/9′ tidal surge isn’t much but it all depends how low the land is relative to the sea? Here in the USA people plant houses right on the beach! Complete idiocy, there seem to be no planning rules and regulations prohibiting such stupidity as there is in the UK Of course the N Atlantic has the greatest tidal reaches in the world so property is well set back. The Pacific has very low tidal reaches normally, so an 8′ surge = big potatoes. That is effectively double the normal diurnal reach.
    For comparison, Milford Sound has a tidal daily reach of 36′ ten miles from the sea!
    Cat winds 150 to 170 mph or so?
    Perhaps time to go especially if the houses are old and only one storey. 8/9′ is enough to drown anyone. Lot will depend if you have a boat in the front yard!

  6. Just had a look at Bowen, a 5 mile coastal plain, a couple of very heavily meandered small rivers and commercial salt flats plus flat farmland. Definitely good and flat. Looks like time to go, but they have a convenient mountain just inland where they could all go and watch the decimation.

  7. In 1964 I went through a cyclone off the Queensland coast whilst an apprentice in the SS Cape Sable. It was quite exiting. I wasn’t scared because I was ignorant. The Old Man and the mates were looking a bit pensive though. Anyway we got through it ok. She was a good strong ship Clyde built when Scotland was somewhere to be proud of.

  8. Latest warning: 400 km wide; winds up to 275 km/hour and tidal surge of 4 metres. I think even double story matchstick houses might have a few problems.

    It seems to be moving slowly and south – so we may well get a bit of rain…

  9. From the pictures it was over hyped by the authorities. But then they always are! I fail to understand why the authorities constantly try to instill fear into the population. sickening.
    As with most of these offshore weather systems , they accelerate over the sea and instantly downgrade when they hit land. There has been very little flooding from the sea from the pictures, just a lot of sea foam that hurts nobody. Pretty high rainfall but that is unlikely to cause life threatening flooding.
    The poor old trees appear to have taken the brunt. One can understand why the residents ignored the warnings, probably seen it all before. Very little property destroyed. Damage yes, but not a matchsticks job!

  10. j, it came ashore 600 miles North of Boa! She would only get the tail end of the whole affair.

  11. As predicted the fibro / wooden houses seem to have been badly hit – and, as you say, Christina, the trees have taken a hit. Seems that the predicted sea-surge didn’t occur because of the time it hit land. Lots and Lots of rain, which will probably cause flooding – but that may come later.

    The problem has been that, not to put too fine a point on it, one gets bored with seeing the same pictures / videos and reports over and over again…

    Needless to say, the insurance companies are moaning loudly, and we’ve been told that all the avocados, tomatoes, etc, etc have been wiped out and we’ll have to pay double price or more…

  12. There you are Bo, good excuse to grow your own!
    If I remember correctly you disown green thumbs tho.

  13. Christina – my excuse for not growing my own food is not only my ‘black’ thumbs – but also my impatience. It takes far too long for the avocados, etc to grow!

    Yesterday we got the tail-end of Debbie. Lots and lots of rain as she moved down the coast and then out to sea. We were told it would be ‘dreadful’ – all the schools were closed, non-essential workers were sent home – and public transport was free. We were also told it would be as dreadful today – but the sun has shone, and apart from some wind it’s been pretty good where we are. True, the little creek at the bottom of the garden has been running and the b*dy toads / frogs have been bellowing loudly – but no probs! But, our house is high – and not likely to flood.

    Unfortunately, that has not been the same elsewhere. The rainfall (over a month’s rainfall in 24 hours) has caused massive flooding – well up to roof level and more.

  14. So I gather, unfortunately once they get over land they can slow down dramatically which gives them the ability to dump inches of rain per hour over the same place. No drainage system can cope with that. Seen the same in both Dallas and Memphis.
    At least in more temperate equable oceanic climes such as the UK and WA the rain is bloody constant sometimes but never that much falls /time frame, net result, flooding either minimal or or utterly spasmodic. With the caveat that they haven’t fucked about with the drainage systems a la Somerset Levels! Once you get to slow cyclones its all pretty inevitable.

  15. Yes, CO, our flood was down to a blocked storm drain designed to cope with flash floods hitting the road! GRRRRR!

  16. That’s down to plain bloody bad maintenance by the council. Should have sued them. They have an obligation to maintain such.

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