Cyclone and Hurricane Warnings
In the 19 of March 2006 Australians woke up to a totally usual Sunday.
The Bureau of Meteorology had been monitoring a cyclone
on the Coral Sea, but in the previous months there had been a few
cyclones around that never hit the coast so many people didn’t take it
quite seriously until the cyclone warnings started interrupting radio
and TV programs. Then the shops got crowded with people stocking up
food and necessities because after a cyclone hits the power may be gone
for weeks so the shops may not
Prepare for Hurricanes and Cyclones
Once back home, everyone was taping their window screens and cleaning
their yards from anything that can fly – outdoor furniture, barbeques,
bikes and rubbish bins.. Warnings from the radio promised “a serious
threat to life and property” and recommended to evacuate, but once the
house and the yard was prepared for the worst, it was already night so
for many people there was nothing much to do but wait and see what
happens. The “silence before the storm” was striking – the weather was
stiller than ever as if the cyclone had sucked even the smallest breeze
out of the air.
Hurricane and Cyclone Safety
When Larry finally hit in the early hours of Monday, there were
thousands of people sitting inside their houses and holding their
breath, listening to the roaring winds, house roofs being lifted and
large trees cracking into pieces outside.
The biggest hope was that the
roof and the windows would hold because once such winds get inside, you
would get thrown around with furniture and debris that will fly in from
outside. It was a scary few hours and I’ve heard so many people saying
that if they would have known how bad it was they would have evacuated.
Cyclone and Hurricane Destruction
Once Larry was gone, everyone went out to discover the outside, and –
it looked as if a nuclear bomb had blown the place up. Houses without
roofs, even walls missing, trees across the roads and all the greenery
was gone, there were hardly any leaves in trees. The town looked like a
ghost town - it was Monday morning but everything was closed. It was
crazy to think that only 24 hours earlier I had hardly heard about the
cyclone, now it would take months before our lives would be back to
normal. Phone lines were broken, electricity was gone and the rain was
Hurricane and Cyclone Aftermath
Towns got isolated as the roads between them got flooded and the
transport of food supplies got really difficult. The ATMs wouldn’t work
with no electricity so people would have no cash even once the first
food outlets would start opening. I remember MacDonald’s being the only
place open in Innisfail about a week after the cyclone and giving away
burgers for free.
Banana Fields and Cyclone Larry
All the banana fields in the area were devastated, as were sugar cane
farms and tropical rainforests. Almost 90% of all Australian banana
industry was destroyed. Banana prices went up about 10 times and stayed
there for the rest of the year.
Rainforest Restoration after Cyclone Destruction North
Queensland has always been known for its lush
greenery thanks to the dense tropical rainforests, now in the Cyclone
Larry's path there was 14,000 km2 of destroyed rainforests with nothing
but bare tree skeletons. But not all the trees were killed so the
greenery started gradually return and now the rainforests are green
again, although you can still see that the canopy is thinner than in
the areas that weren't affected by Larry.
Cyclone Larry and Cyclone Tracy
Thousands of homes were totally destroyed and people had to move to
stay with friends and relatives. The destruction of the Cyclone Larry
was so bad it was compared to the Cyclone Tracy, the worst tropical
Australia’s history, which devastated Darwin
on the Christmas
Day in 1974, killing at least 66 people
and leaving thousands homeless.
Cyclone and Hurricane Devastation
This guy, Jeff, was inside his house while one of his rooms fell off to
the street during the first half of the Cyclone Larry. While the
cyclone’s eye passed there was a 20-minutes calm so he went to the pub
across the road for the second half of the cyclone. Don't think there
was time for the normal pub activities - eight blokes were flat out
holding heavy furniture against the doors so the winds wouldn’t get
inside. But I'd say they had a cold beer once everything was over.
Cyclone Larry and Hurricane Katrina
that no-one was killed in the Cyclone Larry was amazing (there was
actually one guy killed in a campervan but he hasn't been counted as a
direct cyclone victim because he was killed by a heart attack and not
by the winds of the cyclone). But we also had some very good luck - the
reason for the many fatalities in the Hurricane Katrina in 2005 was
that Katrina hit a much heavier populated area, and the fact that it
broke a dam which flooded the city.
Only one month after the Cyclone Larry, while Queenslanders were still
struggling getting their lives back to normal, came Cyclone Monica
with the winds of 350km/h - stronger than any cyclone ever heard of
before. Luckily it so happened that Monica didn't hit any populated
areas and ended up in the uninhabited outback. But scientists predict
that both the numbers and the strengths of hurricanes and cyclones will
be increasing - a fact believed to be linked to the global warming.
Here's a map of the area devastated by the Tropical
where I have tagged the places that were particularly badly hit. You
can click on the tags to see what places they are, and double-click
anywhere on the map to zoom it in and see the places closer. Drag the
map to move around, and if you want to see the satellite image with
Google Earth, click on "Sat" in the top right hand corner.
This site uses
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find words like "traveller", "harbour" and "realise", and they are all
correct in the language used in Australia.
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