Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Extreme ? weather

(first posted at 11.37AM .. edited and bits added )

Hoo boy, i would not, at this point want to be in the shoes of Anna Bligh (Premier of Queensland) or, probably more to the point - Andrew Fraser (State treasurer) -OR, if it comes to that, ANYONE living on the North Queensland coast. Not only are they faced with trying to figure out how to pay for and  "repair' the damage created by the recent, rather extraordinary, flood events in Townsville and Brisbane (and elsewhere), they are now faced with yet another "extra-ordinary" event -(other names for this circular wind event are "typhoon", "hurricane"). 
 Cyclone Yasi *.

3PM Weds 2 Feb 2011
To try to put this monster into perspective; the "building code" in Queensland has been written to the (most probable) level of "strong enough to withstand a Category 4 cyclone". Yasi is due to cross the coast within 24 hours, is Category 5 (strongest) and showing no sign of either diminishing, or veering back out to sea (but don't take my word - or that image, for 'truth' - but  there is a series of 'recorded' isobars on the bom website that i also 'interpret'. Why? Well, if one has spent quite some time on the deck, in charge, of a small [32ft] boat on the open ocean [as distinct from four rectangular brick walls and air conditioning] .. one tends to become very interested in what "the weather" is about to throw at ya).
[Hurricane Katrina: (August 2005) Category 5 at landfall; winds 280kph [175mph]. Locally, Cyclone Larry (North Qld:20March2006) was a category 4; gusts to 240kph , but only 50 klm across. This one is ??klm wide]

Heavy rainfall and floods are one thing - but when combined with wind strengths of 250-300klm/hour (150-190 miles/hour) things become somewhat awkward. Not only that, it closely coincides with the (normal) high tide event. One often hears the words "storm surge" - which, due to the low pressure in the eye of the cyclone, raises the average sea level..
Queensland tidal ranges can be in the vicinity of 7 - 12 metres (.. feet), so most coastal communities are aware of that, and build above the highest known tide height .. but .. the 'storm surge' for this one is predicted to be in the region of 4 metres (14 feet) over and above the high tide mark. This, of course, is not counting the wave heights whipped up by the 200kph winds which have to be added onto the heights (especially in the southern half of the circle)..

There will also be massive amounts of torrential rainwater coming down from the catchments – but can't go anywhere except sideways if the estuaries are already rising from incoming high tide and storm surge.

I read where there are some areas in the USA experiencing snow. Would, frankly, prefer the minor discomfort and inconvenience of having my car or house buried under 12ft of snow – than owning coastal property hit by 300kph winds then swamped by 30ft seas.

Oddly, phone calls from Cairns (to ABC RN an hour ago) are saying that - at the moment - all is quiet. Just another "perfect Qld summer day".

Another oddity, have just finished reading “The Perfect Storm” ; a story written by Sebastian Junger [published in paperback by HarperTorch; 2000] about an unusual confluence of weather events off the coast of Newfoundland in 1991 - and made into a movie.

{* why 'Yasi"? .. ah, depends on where they originate. This one originated outside of the Australian Bureau of Met jurisdiction, who tend to give cyclones 'male' names}.

Will have to leave this post here, too much 'updating' info coming in.

5.21PM .. and believe me - when it hits do not expect "immediate" rescue .. the local 'emergency' services are already being 'locked down' .. but they'll be back as soon as they can . And yep, there were BOM staff on Willis Island, they pulled them out at the last minute, but left the radar running. Willis Island radar ceased transmitting.

8.36PM. For weather nerds

10.32PM. OK far be it from me to actually admit that twits and twats actually exist - or even that have 'heard' about them .. errm
um, lotta rubbish -
prefer this one

11.39PM; am listening to ABC Radio National. It IS a severe and destructive storm.  The "help" systems have done as much as they could .. whoever is still there in Townsville .. hang on.

12.38AM .. ok, nuffin i can do about it from here .. gone to bed.


Davo said...

mm, don't really want to make "political" mileage out of this .. but tony rabbit and the 'flatearth" party are still refusing to recognise some rather blatant facts.

Three Score and Ten or more said...

I always wanted a beach house. ;->

Davo said...

hang about 70+ .. in a year or two, someone elses very expensive one may well wash up on a shoreline near you .. heh.

Jayne said...

I reckon the warranty ran out on Oz....

Davo said...

Wot? Nah, Jayne, while Western Australian agriculture might be struggling a bit - the 'mining sector' (and other 'financial services' sectors)are actually still collecting obscene profits.

far be it from me to suggest 'collective endeavour' .. but yup, am still confident that most "real aussies" will 'punch above their weight' and chip in to assist with this problem.

Anne Johnson said...

The bored gods have informed me that they will do nothing to halt global warming because we humans have brought it on ourselves and we therefore have to fix it ourselves. Good luck. I have seen some bad-lookin' radar images in my time, and this one just staggers the imagination.

Norma said...

We've only gotten tidbits of this storm on our news since US is having a blizzard of sorts, so thanks for the additional information.

Davo said...

errrm, Norma, will give a cautious welcome to Womby's drivel, since have gone and had a bittuva squizz at your writings.

There are quite few 'cultural' differences and 'language groups' here in Australia.

While yes, I do understand 'formal' english - this blog can become unpredictably 'vernacular'.
(Honestly, no disrespect - but have to mention that 'gotten' is yet another of the 'ugly' words that has come out of the 'american experiment' .. heh)

Davo said...

.. perhaps i refuse to 'grow up' and continue to be an 'irreverant yahoo' (mm, must find out the etymology of that word).