Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Overview ~ Memorabillia

It's Monday February 14, 2011.  Here is an overview (literally) of what passed over and through us in Far North and North Queensland Feb Wed 2 - Thur 3, 2011.

Ref. http://www.theweatherchaser.com/videos/201101-tropical-cyclone-yasi
Tropical Cyclone Yasi - Satellite and Radar Timelapse
This video shows Severe Tropical Cyclone Yasi forming in the Coral Sea and heading for the Queensland coast as a category 5 storm before moving inland and weakening. Towards the end you can see it interacting with the remnants of Tropical Cyclone Anthony and feeding a large amount of moisture down the to South East of Australia. Also of note is that at the very begining of the sequence you can see Tropical Cyclone Bianca off the Western Australia Coast, and then Tropical Cyclone Anthony crossing the Queensland coast.

24 hours prior, it was the luck of the draw as to where exactly the eye would finally cross over the coast. Initial Navy charts showed landing point between Innisfail and Cardwell, then secondary stage reports predicted between Cairns and Innisfail which meant we were in for copping the worst of it.

One mutters 'oh shit, here we go again', having already gone through the category 5 eye of Cyclone Larry, in the early Monday morning hours March 20 2006 and remembering those pelting unrelentless winds/rain from both directions on our house and then experiencing the aftermath of destruction to our town/region.

The brain soon activates the adrenalin to start pumping into the bloodstream! Fight or Flee? My husband and I we are sticklers, more practical than emotional, we just get on with what we have to do, having both been brought up tough on isolated self-sufficient farms.  Many Innisfailites I know flee'ed further south to Mackay or way out west, even to Winton, not wanting to go thru another Cat.5 for a 2nd time.  Afterwards many found they were unable to travel back the same way, having to make long hour inland detours because of all the coastline highway road blockages.

At this point it was still a fair way off the coast, so one mentally plays out the game of 'wait and see' and hopes/prays for a better outcome!  By late Wed. afternoon, after continually listening to the ABC radio update life-line reports, were we then only sure of our position to this massive system - once again to the northern side of the cyclone eye (moment of relief!). We would be only getting the powerful cat.5/4 westerly winds/rain. Just how close to the eye we would be was always a question in the back of my mind. We, being just 10 min. north of Innisfail and Mission Beach was like half an hour on the other side!

House/Yard Preparations
My husband had spent the last two days with chain saw in our yard taking out, pruning trees that caused any threat and cleaning up his 'accumulated stuff', with the help of our 20yr old daughter, under our highset house.
I had to batton down, secure the gallery premises in town on Tuesday pm/Wed am, as my eldest daughter told me Tues.8 pm that police were to lock down the town by Wed.10am, which later was to change back to 8am.  Inside the house one made all necessary preparations for the night and days/weeks to follow. As our house structure, built in 1989, stood up to Larry, this was some reassurance but there is always some doubt running through one's mind of 'what if' the worst possibly happens.

With winds and rain now coming in force, at 7.35pm Wed. night we lost electricity.  We could feel it's almighty power looming closer while directly East of us then, the eye still off the coast travelling slowly 30-35 kmph and constantly in a South-West direction. They said it was heading straight towards Mission Beach where it did hit and made landfall just prior midnight. All the while we were listening to our battery operated ABC local FM radio station who had people ringing in, telling the world of listening ears, of their cyclonic experiences.

By 10 o'clock that night I realized, while attending/monitoring the west end house louvre windows for water seepage, that these gusty winds/rain of TC Yasi, although very powerful and strong, were no where near the constant fierce extremity we had experienced while being in the direct path of TC Larry. Yasi was, as anticipated, of a much longer duration because of it's enormous diameter. Those further south were not so fortunate.

Between midnight and 2am we experienced several huge gust belts of almighty winds that shook our house in varying degrees. All the while, the wind noise continually 'roared' through our rainforest backyard, going like a high speed train. We heard several limbs of trees snap and break and checked with powered torches to see if anything had landed on shed roofs.

My husband, totally exhausted, went to sleep with our blessings around midnight, my daughter at 2 pm and I probably went about 3pm. from vague memory.

We came out of Yasi with no 'visible' damage done to our buildings. Quite unbelievable really. We still shake our heads in disbelief.  The tropical garden and rainforest took a battering - the tall leaf stalks of the red torch heliconias now decapitated.  From previous experience, mulberry trees will bear a crop of fruit after severe stress related conditions.

Backyard 12 Dec. 2010
Backyard 12 Dec. 2010

Backyard Feb 3, 2010
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Clean up time ~ Extra large fibrous palm that fell, landing southward and missing the power pole
Photo taken Feb 3, 2011
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My eldest daughter and her family, in an Innisfail rented house, were not so lucky ~ with a leaking damaged roof three rooms were saturated with water. They are now going to move out of this house this week and into another rented house just a few doors down, it undamaged and with power. By moving she will no longer have to wait while being without any power, for a landlady to organize insurance quotes and get repairs done to a damaged roof and then for an electrician to check all her wet electricals out.

View from daughter's frontyard - looking at trees along the bank of the South Johnstone River, Innisfail.
(2 days after Yasi's visit.)
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View across the South Johnstone River to the Water Tower in East Innisfail.
(2 days after Yasi's visit)

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 We did get house and content damage from Cyclone Larry 2006 and also from Cyclone Winifred (cat.3) Feb.1986 (my very first - then living in a rented house out at Bartle Frere.) It took nearly 2 years after Larry before our Insurance Co. was made to pay out all itemized cost damages to our property. In the meantime we had to keep replacing wind torn tarps on our leaking roof for nearly 2 years! 

Nearly two weeks has passed since Yasi's overnight visit. It is hot and humid. Time drags on. It is hard to focus.  There is still no electricity at home. It is life with a noisy generator used to pump our bore water, keeping our fridge and freezers cold, doing a washing load here and there, ironing some clothes and trying to stay cool without any overhead fans going.  And at nightime one cooks on gas and showers by candlelight and torches.  Some people have very big generators and Ergon Energy have been catching people out plugging them into the main power circuit of their houses, causing damaged power lines to be charged.

Just down the road from home, going to Hwy.
(Day 2 after Yasi's visit)
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Electrical wires everywhere
Feb4. ~ Day 2 after Yasi
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Nearby neighbour's deroofed house on hill and lots of broken cable lines on the ground.
The sky = BIG thunderstorm, lightning and lots of rain.
Photo taken Feb 3. 2011 ~ Day after Yasi's visit
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Roof debris landed south across the road, littering another neighbour's yard.
Photo taken Feb3 2011.
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Another view looking West of nearby neighbour's deroofed house on hill.
Photo taken Feb 4. Day 2 after Yasi's visit.
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Tuesday 15th Feb. 2011
Around midday, electricity was finally restored to our home today. Fortunate to be home to make the changeover from generator to mains power.

Those worst hit areas ~ Bingil Bay, Mission Beach, Tully, Cardwell region ~ continue the struggle and battle on.

Feb.3, 2011.  Morning after Yasi.  One of the little noisy chirping stressed sunbirds looking for their nest and babies.
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