Marcia strikes

Mercifully Cyclone Marcia made landfall at Shoalwater Bay, a military training area between Yeppoon and Sarina, south of Mackay. The ABC coverage shows how it zigged and zagged after getting up steam in the Coral Sea:


It headed for Mackay and then side-stepped. Perhaps Kolobok Norris was out there on the beach waving his fists! I do hope he and Graham Bell were safe.

It gathered strength to become a category 5, but not nearly as big bad or ugly as Yasi. Nor will it penetrate as far into the inland, where large tracts remain parched.

Here’s an image of Yasi:

Yasi 2 Fe 500

Here’s the equivalent of Marcia:


Cat 5 cyclones can destroy buildings. The Courier Mail has a photo gallery, including this:


Here’s another:


There was a three metre tidal surge and with significant erosion a tourist cabin fell into the sea on Great Keppel Island:


There will be a lot of personal stories of danger, escape and loss:


Some people, especially surf board riders, seem to be energised by these events. Here at Noosa they line up for their turn:


Here in South-east Queensland we’ve had a substantial rain depression for a couple of days. I gather it is related to Marcia but there is clear air between them as seen from this BOM screenshot late on Friday:


Considerable swells have already battered then Gold Coast:


Here in Brisbane we await the remnants of Marcia. I gather we are in a 12 hour interval which is like being in the eye of the storm. So far at our place we’ve had about 150 mm or six inches in the old money. We are assured that the main issues will be creek flooding and wind, with the possibility of trees bringing down power lines, hence blackouts and/or blocked roads. We are assured that it will be nothing like the floods of 2011. In fact we may get our reservoirs recharged which currently sit at a bit over 80%.

In the NT Cyclone Lam crossed the coast about 440 km east of Darwin, hitting some remote communities.

At time of posting (2 am) it looks as though Marcia has significantly fizzled and is mainly sliding through to the west of us. We’ve certainly had enough rain and it might do some good in agricultural areas.

Update: Geoff Henderson has sent me a link to a CNN map shown on Facebook, with Tasmania labelled Queensland. Here it is:


Saturday salon 21/2


An open thread where, at your leisure, you can discuss anything you like, well, within reason and the Comments Policy. Include here news and views, plus any notable personal experiences from the week and the weekend.

For climate topics please use the most recent Climate clippings.

The gentleman in the image is Voltaire, who for a time graced the court of Frederick II of Prussia, known as Frederick the Great. King Fred loved to talk about the universe and everything at the end of a day’s work. He also used the salons of Berlin to get feedback in the development of public policy.

Fred would only talk in French; he regarded German as barbaric. Here we’ll use English.

The thread will be a stoush-free zone. The Comments Policy says:

The aim [of this site] is to provide a venue for people to contribute and to engage in a civil and respectful manner.

Here are a few bits and pieces that came to my attention last week.

1. Brandis staffer oversees Labor meeting with Gillian Triggs

This scungy mob don’t know how to behave.

When Mark Dreyfus, shadow attorney general, met human rights commissioner Gillian Triggs Brandis’s deputy chief of staff, Josh Faulks, turned up at the commission’s Sydney office at the appointed time for the meeting. Both Dreyfus and Triggs asked him to leave.

Faulks refused, saying he was acting on the instructions of the attorney. The meeting proceeded with Faulks watching.

The Human Rights Commission is an independent statutory body.

At the same time Abbott refuses requests from Triggs for a meeting and Brandis has been unable to find time in recent months.

Simply outrageous.

2. Abbott wades into the Bali nine affair

When Abbott promised an “absolutely unambiguous” response if Bali nine the executions went ahead, I was inclined to agree with him. I thought there should be some very overt sign of our displeasure if our neighbours kill some of our citizens. However, I thought, now is not the time to be saying this.

I also thought it was very bad form to remind Indonesia about the help we gave them during the aftermath of the Aceh tsunami. Surely we gave help because it was needed, not in the hope of future favours.

It seems that Abbott’s intervention was a real diplomatic clanger and may have undid much of the carefully crafted strategy pursued by Julie Bishop and others. Lets hope no-one takes the clown too seriously. Certainly Julie Bishop made clear to RN Drive that aid was a quite separate issue.

3. Remembering the freedom rides

Nearly every week we remember some significant event of the past. This week it was the freedom rides of 50 years ago. Ann Curthoys and Brian Aarons remember:

We travelled by bus to protest against racial discrimination against Aboriginal people in New South Wales country towns such as Walgett, Moree, Bowraville and Kempsey.

Although we had done our best to prepare, the non-Aboriginal students were shocked by what we found: desperately poor living conditions on fringe settlements, missions on which white managers controlled every aspect of Aboriginal people’s lives, white people convinced of their racial superiority, and exclusion of Aboriginal people from the basic amenities of a country town.

So, we protested against the exclusion of Aboriginal people from RSL clubs in Walgett, swimming pools in Moree and Kempsey, and picture theatres in Bowraville.

The SMH tells the story of the re-enactment. Here John Powles, Charles Perkins, Patricia Healy and Jim Spigelman plan the ride:

Freedom rides_1424227244392_550

How much has changed? A lot, but there is more to go, according to this account of Moree then and now.

4. Remembering Dresden

Just a week ago, on 13-14 February, we remembered the 1945 carpet bombing of Dresden and the consequent fire-storm in which at least 25,000 people died. There are some historic pictures at The Atlantic:


The Daily Mail concentrates on photos of the commemoration, including the magnificent rebuilt Frauenkirche. It also includes historic photos towards the end.