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Waltzing Australia


Sunday, February 6, 2011

22. Cyclone Yasi

Destruction From The Skies
We knew about Cyclone Yasi - all Australians knew by Tuesday (1 Feb) and that it would be bad - worse than Cyclone Larry which hit the Queensland coast in 2006 and far worse than Cyclone Anthony which was a Category 2 with winds up to 155 km/ph and hit the Queensland coast on 30 January - just a few days earlier.

Above: Predicted path of Cyclone Yasi
Although meteorologists try and predict the path of a cyclone, the cyclones themselves can go either way and turn in a different direction. It was thought that Cairns would be the focal point, but when this huge monster smashed into the Queensland coast, it was Mission Beach where it made landfall. Mission Beach is 138 kms south of Cairns.

Above: TC Yasi in the Pacific Ocean

Above: Cyclone Yasi on 1 Feb
A huge monster. By 7.00am on the 2 February, Cyclone Yasi was upgraded to a Category 5 with possible winds of up to 300km/ph.

Above: Cyclone Yasi nears Queensland

Above: Cyclone Yasi and Australia

Like Napalm
Queensland residents have said that when TC Yasi hit, it was like a napalm bomb had gone off and its fury was ten times worse that Larry.

One day you have a picturesque three-acre property on a hill overlooking South Mission Beach and Dunk Island, complete with its own rainforest, the next you are looking at devestation on a grand scale. Trees stripped bare, everything in sight broken, branches everywhere, your house is gone, the road has lifted, and the howling winds like a jet engine go on for hours while the rain pounds down.
A frightening prospect.

Size of Yasi & World Comparisons
To give you so,e idea just how big TC Yasi was, the three photos below show the cyclone over the USA, Asia and Europe.

Above: TC Yasi superimposed over the USA

Above: TC Yasi over Asia

Above: TC Yasi superimposed over Europe

Above: Cyclone Yasi and Hurricane Katrina

The pictures below are from ABC News.

Above: Tully Heads resident returns to ruin

Above: Power lines down at Cowley

Towns Closed To Public
Following a request for privacy by distressed locals, Police have closed of Tully Heads and Tully to the general public. Police said residents returning to their badly damaged homes wanted to be left alone to begin the clean up.

The seaside towns were among the hardest hit when the category five Cyclone Yasi slammed into the coast late on Wednesday night.

Police say the entire Tully Heads and Tully areas have been closed - the locals will wear marked wrist bands to gain access.

Above: Tully home peeled open

Above: Toilet left standing after Cyclone Yasi

Above: Silkwood home hit by Yasi

Above: Sign shows Tully residents' resilience

Above: Tully home hit hard

Above: Marina in ruin after Cyclone Yasi

Above: Banana farm inundated by Cyclone Yasi floodwaters
The banana crops have been almost wiped out bar a few. When Cyclone Larry hit five years ago, bananas went up to $13 a kilo.

No Imported Bananas
It is with relief I heard that Coles Supermarket has promised they will not import cheap bananas from overseas. This is something I am very pleased about - so what if banans cost 13 bucks a kilo, or even $20, I'd rather pay $10 for two bananas or go without than have an imported crop from overseas. When I was a child, fruit and vegetables were not available all year round like they are today - they were only in the fruit shops when they were in season. And that's how it should be. Too many people are used to having all their fruit and veg year round and they're pretty tasteless anyway.

Above: Banana plantation destroyed by Cyclone Yasi

Above: Cardwell's foreshore washed to sea

Town Faces Disaster Again
Above: House toppled in Innisfail
Innisfail, a small sugar cane town 30 kms from Mission Beach was almost wiped out after Cyclone Larry and now faces another battle.

Above: House destroyed in Mission Beach

Above: Ocean laps over The Strand in Townsville

Above: Oceans churns in the wake of Yasi

A C-17 Globemaster and two C-130 Hercules aircraft flew from Amberley Airbase to Cairns on Saturday with essential supplies. There will be further flights transporting such things as bottled water, baby formula, disposable nappies and tinned food.

Cairns residents, meanwhile, could have their power restored. Local power supplier Ergon Energy says it believes it will have the high voltage backbone of most of its electricity network in Cairns restored by Sunday night.

Power was reconnected to almost 15,000 customers on Friday night, leaving about 21,000 homes and businesses in Cairns without power.

Where There's A Will There's A Way

Beyond this place of wrath and fears, looms but the horror of the shade.
Yet the menace of the years, finds us unafraid.
It matters not how charged with punishment the scroll;
We thank whatever gods may be, for our unconquerable soul

From "Invictus" by William Henley.

Few in the tropics would know much about Henley's poem Invictus. Let alone the words or order.
But here in the Deep North it resonates. There is something different in our DNA. There is a sense of the tough, pioneering spirit of life on the last frontier up here.
This latest big blow is testament to our unconquerable soul.

Cyclone Yasi is just the latest test of our character. Make no mistake, this was no fizzer. Flying over Ground Zero, it looks like 150km stretch of the coast has been bombed.

In a sweep by helicopter from Cairns to Ingham, a distance of about 260km, the full extent of the devastation can be seen. The blessing was that Cyclone Yasi - a female Fijian baby name meaning sandalwood - did not unleash its payload directly on the main population centres of Townsville or Cairns. That would have been carnage.

But there is one image, out of many, that captures the wrath of the most powerful cyclone in Australia's recorded history. From the air, it is the sight of about 70 luxury yachts, motor cruisers and catamarans, piled high like a child's discarded toys and flung into waterfront living rooms.

Down on the ground, emotions are raw. Jim Wickerson, 58, looks like Santa Claus. He is a big, burly bloke, scared of nothing. Except a Fijian female called Yasi. READ THE REST OF THE STORY HERE.

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