Cyclone watch

Cyclones Bianca and Anthony

Three cyclones, actually. Cyclone Bianca is threatening to hit Perth, Bunbury and Busselton, possibly weakening to a category one.

Bianca is not expected to be as bad as Cyclone Alby which hit Perth in 1978. Alby claimed five lives and caused widespread damage in the Perth metropolitan area.

Before the rain comes the wind, and ironically the first danger could be fire from the high winds.

Does anyone know how often Perth experiences cyclones? I recall one a few years ago that started in the Coral Sea, I think, possibly the Gulf of Carpentaria, which headed west and ended up giving Perth a dousing, probably as a rain depression.

Meanwhile Cyclone Anthony re-formed into a category one storm and is currently about 950 kilometres north-north-east of Townsville.

Forecaster Greg Connor says it is likely to cross the coast between Cooktown and Mackay sometime early Monday morning.

“We do expect it to intensify. It’s probable that it will get to category one or two, but there is the possibility it will get to category three before it gets to the coast,” he said.

The Brisbane Times story shows the possible path:

Possible path of Cyclone Anthony

According to the Courier Mail:

The good news for sodden central and southeast Queensland areas is that Anthony is expected to be mainly confined to the tropics.

As it dissipates, it is expected to track southwest across the state, bringing rain to western parts and raising the spectre of more flooding for country towns already hit.

[Weather bureau forecaster Ben] Annells said Anthony was not a large system and was fast moving.

“While it will have plenty of rain in it, we are not expecting many hundreds of millimetres simply because it is not expected to sit still in one place,” he said.

“When they are slow moving is when they tend to drench an area.”

Meanwhile, it is feared a tropical low about 1500km northeast of Fiji, expected to be named Yasi, could build into a category four cyclone and hit north of Gladstone on Thursday.

All this while Anna Bligh:

launched a $10 million advertising blitz in an attempt to reinvigorate the state tourism industry suffering from extensive negative publicity about weather and natural disasters.

Tourists would rather watch our weather from afar, it seems.

On AGW, yes, we have a La Niña and a negative Indian Ocean dipole, giving warm waters in the Timor and Coral seas. But the Australian sea surface temperature was the warmest on record for 2010 and the decade 2000-2010:

Australian sea surface temperature anomalies

Over and above natural changes in the weather systems, there is more moisture, more heat and energy in the atmosphere.

44 thoughts on “Cyclone watch”

  1. We could use all those cyclone shelters ya promised in 2006, Mr Beattie and Mrs Bligh.

    Sorry folks, had to get that one off my chest.

    But seriously , its the elderly that i worry about, some of them don’t have the physical ability to prepare .
    Luckily , most people do look out for elderly neighbours.

  2. I remember one year in the gulf when we had four separate cyclone alerts in one week. The cyclone that actually hit us was the last one. By that time we were starting to get blase about the whole thing. In eight years that was the only cyclone that actually hit even though we had numerous alerts each year.
    One of the challenges with infrequent major emergencies is that people get sick of evacuations, preparations etc. that end up not being necessary THIS TIME.

  3. Graigy: All the house in Alyangula had cyclone shelters built under them when it was realized that most of the houses would have lost their living floor if we had been hit by cyclone a Tracey intensity cyclone. The shelters were very very basic but the walls should have been adequate to save our lives. Can’t imagine that they would have cost much.
    Katter was on the box last night complaining of the lack of help for the North during the 2008 season.

  4. Just came back from the supermarket, Lots of people,
    The dear wife said we may be short of toilet roll, took 35 mins,!!!
    She had a bit of a smile when i go back. It seems we had plenty.

    We are lucky that the shelves are restocked after being empty last week ,due to the southern floods.

  5. Hi Kevin – are you still in the west? If so, you’d know we just had a welcome though brief dousing through the night some time. Astonishing to wake to streets still wet at 8.00 am after some hours of sunshine. I wonder if it had much impact on our dams, down to 25% capacity.

    People forget that a ten year drought is as extreme a weather event as any can be imagined. Both political parties have done some sane things to mitigate its effect by way of water restrictions and desalination plants, as well as incentives for home storage tanks etc. I wish though they’d introduce real water rationing. What does it help if some of us are fanatical water savers and wise gardeners if water remains cheap as chips with no limits on usage?

    I hand water every day, plus the permitted weekly drip feed, but I am ferociously strict with myself on domestic use. Even so one has to do laundry, use the loo, wash up and drink the stuff. This year, first time ever in several decades my water bill was less than $60! Haven’t they increased the unit cost at all? Mind you, I guess the family has shrunk a bit!

    Let’s hope we get more rain this weekend without the destruction of a full force cyclone. Clear blue skies here at mid-day, though horribly humid, but thanks for the reminder that I’ll need to anchor anything outside that might move.

  6. Does anyone know how often Perth experiences cyclones?

    Brian, the Bureau of Meteorology does:

    During the 95 year period from 1910 to 2004 there were a total of fourteen tropical cyclones that either caused gales or caused wind-related property damage in the Perth region. Decaying cyclones that caused heavy rain but not gales were not included. This equates to an annual frequency of occurrence of 0.15 equivalent to about one every six to seven years.

  7. Patricia WA: Brisbane did a brilliant job of cutting water consumption using a combination of rationing, subsidizing water saving measures, free water audits and and a campaign to get people on side.
    What they didn’t do was artificially increase the price of water so that the rich could continue to water their lawns while the great unwashed couldn’t afford anything that would allow them to become washed. The usual suspects of course wanted it all driven by pushing up the price of water.
    Rationing was a key part of the campaign because it treated every one equally. It also meant that it was very obvious if anyone was cheating the rest of us.
    interesting thing is that per capita consumption has stayed low despite the lifting of restrictions. Water tanks, low water consumption shower roses etc. are permanent changes.

  8. John D, I’ll check out the Brisbane measures before I start lobbying the state govt. Obviously my preference is for rationing rather than pricing to control usage. It’s just that I was surprised how little inflationary effect there seems to have been on price over the years.

  9. Patricia WA

    Heavy dump of rain at Fairbridge an hour ago. Water quickly disappeared. This is no drought breaker yet. We were at Serpentine Dam last weekend: About a quarter full. Well below the spillway!

  10. The ABC has an update. Bianca’s target seems to be between Jurien Bay and Albany on Sunday.

    “Something will move through the south-western parts of Western Australia tomorrow afternoon or tomorrow,” he said.

    “The question is whether it will be tomorrow morning or later in the day.

    “If it’s in the morning that’s when we’ll get the serious impact, if it’s later in the day it will be much diminished. And that’s the crux of the problem.”

    In Queensland

    Cyclone Anthony is expected to gather speed and intensify slightly before crossing the coast between Townsville and Ayr early on Monday.

  11. LOok at Anthony, and the monster behind him.

    I’ve been through many cyclones as a north queenslander, and would comfortably ride out any Cat 1-3 ( the latter in close proximity to a table and mattress*, if required).

    However, if that thing came anywhere near me, ( and its forcast to grow, mind,) i would be seriously looking at getting the hell outta there.

  12. SCG that’s awesome imagery.

    I recall hearing after Cyclone Larry about a farmer on the Atherton Tablelands crawling on all fours back to the house. Of course at that severity the house would not have been altogether safe either.

  13. *The drill for the nasty ones (for non-cyclonites), is to huddle in the strongest room in your house, under a mattress and or table. If your roof comes off you need a buffer against flying debris.

    btw Brian, found a pic of you yesterday presenting a literacy program award circa 2004 – teachers union newspaper i think 🙂

  14. SCG that was an awesome cyclone in 1899.

    @ 16, that was part of a former life that resurfaces every two years.

    2004 was the first – Kurwongbah SS. In 2006 I was absent recovering from an operation and in 2008, I was on a boat on the Rhine at Strasbourg. Last year was Francis Assissi with me in a suit and tie borrowed from Mark.

  15. Heard on the ABC that Bianca has been downgraded to a rain depression. Anthony is steaming in and due to arrive shortly after midnight.

  16. Before cyclone Tracey we used to say to each other what a mess Darwin would be if a cyclone hit every time we went through there. These pictures are a reminder of what a strong one can do to a town that is not prepared. Houses not designed properly, no cyclone preparation, no…. Makes you wonder what will happen when global warming brings the big ones south to places that simply aren’t built for them. Imagine what a Hedland strength cyclone would do to Perth or Brisbane or…

  17. There are ants going crazy ,carrying eggs, at my place.
    But only just off the ground.A good sign, i’m told.
    Looking at the radar, i should expect the main bulk of Anthony’s rain to start in about an hour or so,and it doesn’t look extreme and the wind isnt to bad (touch wood) yet.
    The morning was mostly fine and windy, i even got to play 18 holes.

  18. From the ABC:

    Tropical Cyclone Anthony has crossed the north Queensland coast near Bowen, bringing with it strong winds and flooding rain.

    Areas between Ayr and Mackay have experienced wind gusts of up to 155 kilometres an hour.

    Power has been cut to about 10,000 properties in areas including Bowen, Airlie Beach and Sarina.

    Cyclone Anthony, which crossed the coast shortly before 10:00pm (AEST), has since been downgraded to a category one system and is expected to weaken into a tropical low as it moves further inland.

  19. Yeh Cowgirl
    Anthony was a bit of a fizzer.
    As a person,with 40 cyclone seasons under my belt, i’m more than a little concerned about Yasi.
    I hope wherever it crosses the coast, the folks there are ready.
    It’s a serious one.

  20. There’s an ” evacuation advice ” for areas of Mackay
    Check your local council web site.
    It Can take a while, lots of traffic i suppose.
    If your in a town in the firing line, it’s worth a look.

  21. CRAIGY, I heard the Minister say on radio that people living in exposed and/or low-lying coastal areas should think about evacuating in the morning (Tuesday) to further inland.

  22. It does not look good with Yasi.

    At 5am the BoM has the expected crossing moved north just south of Cairns and it also moving faster, so xsing expected earlier. If it hits at expected trajectory and intensity it will be a war zone. Catastrophic winds plus one of the biggest storm surges and rainfalls (500mm+)in living memory. It is expected to retain very strong intensity for a longway inland and at a circumference of 400km it will leave a huge path of destruction! For us up in the Tablelands it means still cat3 wind force, I am literally battening down the hatches atm and hope for the best.

    Don’t know if I have anymore time to report.

  23. Yasi has the potential to well and truly out-do any of the natural disasters we have endured lately.

    This is a big stretch of coastline and hinterland with a sizeable population.

  24. Hang in there, Ootz and good luck.

    Just heard the target area is between Cairns and Innisfail, with damaging conditions well beyond that. They are expecting cat 2 conditions in Townsville and cat 1 as far south as Mackay.

    At present it is scheduled to arrive at low tide, but that may change. If it does storm surge could be a huge issue.

    They are saying bigger and stronger than Larry, with winds 250kph+. Scheduled to arrive late Wednesday/early Thursday.

    The subsequent inland rain is likely to lob into the Gulf rivers area to the north, so avoid flooding in Emerald and Rockhampton.

  25. Evacuation of 250 hospital patients from Cairns to Darwin. current BOM tracking has Cairsn well and truly in its sights.

  26. Good luck Ootz and best wishes to everyone in the path. We are all thinking of you and let us know how things are going if you get a chance. I get the feeling, myself, that it is moving to hit higher up the coast. Hopefully, where there is less to be damaged.

  27. joe 2, if you go back to the link supplied by SCG @ 24, Cairns looks pretty much bang on. Also the winds to the south of the eye are more destructive than those to the north as it makes landfall, so there is still a problem.

    The following info is from memory from what I heard on Premier Bligh’s briefing.

    The latest projections have it making landfall at low tide with an estimated tidal surge of 2 to 2.5m. That will mean 9,000 people affected. If it strikes at high tide the tidal surge would be an astonishing 4-6m.

    I assume there is a plan B in case it misfires and arrives at the wrong time!

  28. Yep, Brian, projections are currently very grim. It is just wishful thinking on my part and it is not my intention to play down the extreme danger.

  29. Caught a few hours sleep, back to some more preparations, mainly preparing the house for the worst. I’ll try my best, depending how close we are to the eye, the potential is there we lose the house or significant damage.

    Personally my wife and moi will be alright, as I have installed a doomstead bunker for such occasion; the writing was on the wall. Even the chooks have their fully serviced secure shelter! We also packed a traveling bag in case we get evacuated down south just like after C. tracy. I expect it will be weeks for power to return as well as supplies being able to be brought in with roads and rail being ripped up and flooded away. What an adventure ahead of us! I already grieve for my orchard, all the nearly ready bananas and pawpaws, the citrus some already bearing …. sigh. If I have the time I will give them a sever pruning, may be able to save some.

    Brian, if you like I can update during the storm per text on mobile if you could email me your number. I expect to be offline around lunch time and it would be good therapy to do some texting during the long hours in the bunker. I have not mastered to send emails or place comments on LP via mobile phone yet!

  30. 5am Bom update, good and bad news. It is projected to hit near Innisfail (poor bastards) so we will miss the eye wall strength up about 300kp/h approx wind force, as it has been upgraded to a cat 5. Please keep those poor souls that face the eye (60 km dia) in your mind today and specially tonight!

  31. Thanks for that Brian got that, wont have anymore time till it hits, will be busy driving 50 star pikets to additionally secure things and … and …
    will later text you in the middle of it, if the mobile towers are still alive.

    PS. remeber a few climat threads back I was asking how insurances will cope with another whack, how will reinsurance industry be able to cover for all these losses. We’ll need more then a flood levy in a few days time when the dust settled, imagine a bulldozer 400km wide on the coast and driving towards Mt Isa!

  32. Ootz, I’ve got more than a passing interest in insurance, having shares in Suncorp. They promote their “peace of mind” policies which are meant to cover you for everything.

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