Cyclone Yasi may be worst in FNQ history; hospitals and islands evacuated; fears of major flooding; Queensland wrecked end-to-end

The size of this storm is immense…”

One of the largest cyclones in the history of Queensland is about to slam into the north of state:

Cyclone Yasi will hit the north Queensland coast with greater ferocity than devastating Cyclone Larry, according to Premier Anna Bligh.

Thousands of residents, as well as patients at Cairns hospital, face the prospect of evacuations today as the huge storm front bears down.

Latest modelling indicates the cyclone has moved slightly north and is now due to cross the coast between Tully and Lucinda, about 140 kilometres north of Townsville.

The evacuations have  begun:

Cairns hospitals could be evacuated later today, with hundreds of patients facing the prospect of being ferried to Brisbane by the defence force.

Premier Bligh said the Cairns Base Hospital, located on the esplanade, currently had 300 in-patients and could be at risk from a storm surge.

“We are now looking seriously at an evacuation of Cairns Base Hospital,” she told reporters today.

Ms Bligh said the Australian Defence Force was planning to carry the patients to Brisbane by Hercules later today.

“It’s a very big exercise,” she said. “Some patients may be able to return home earlier than they planned, others may need to be evacuated.”

Ms Bligh said Cairns Private Hospital, which had 60 patients, may also need to be evacuated.

There was capacity in Brisbane hospitals to look after the patients, but some elective surgery may need to be cancelled.

Mandatory evacuations of residents have been flagged in the Cairns area and south of there.

Airports and coal terminals are being closed:

“…Townsville and Cairns Airports are currently open and fully operational, but both are expected to close in the next 24 hours.

Most of the flights to Brisbane today have sold out, with reports of huge price spikes for one-way ticket prices.

Coal terminals have been shut at Bowen and Mackay. The only coal port open is Gladstone, in central Queensland, where seven ships are due to be loaded. There are about 50 bulk coal carriers anchored off the Dalrymple Bay terminal near Mackay that will travel out to sea to ride out the cyclone.”

Queensland is a state that is being wrecked end-to-end.

11 thoughts on “Cyclone Yasi may be worst in FNQ history; hospitals and islands evacuated; fears of major flooding; Queensland wrecked end-to-end

  1. Pete_Ridley says:

    Mike, I hope that you are not going to try to blame this on our continuing use of fossil fuels, although I suspect that plenty ecologists and other environmentalists will try!

    As BOM said “Tropical cyclones pose a serious threat to Queensland communities and industry. Australia’s deadliest tropical cyclone occurred on 4 March 1899 when a cyclone hit a pearling fleet in Bathurst Bay (north of Cooktown) and caused a massive storm surge accounting for 307 known fatalities .. There have been 207 known impacts from tropical cyclones along the east coast since 1858. Major east coast tropical cyclones impacts include 1890 Cardwell; 1893 Brisbane; 1898 NSW; 1899 Bathurst Bay; 1918 Innisfail; 1918 Mackay; 1927 Cairns and inland areas; 1934 Port Douglas; 1949 Rockhampton; 1954 Gold Coast; 1967 Dinah, Southern Queensland; 1970 Ada, Whitsunday Islands; 1971 Althea, Townsville; 1974 Wanda, Brisbane; and 2006 Larry, Innisfail.

    The Queensland region of the Gulf of Carpentaria region has been hit by several disastrous tropical cyclones. These include The 1887 Burketown cyclone, The 1923 Douglas Mawson cyclone, The 1936 Mornington Island cyclone; the 1948 Bentick Island cyclone and Ted in 1976.” (http://www.bom.gov.au/cyclone/about/eastern.shtml/).

    Best regards, Pete Ridley

  2. Ross Brisbane says:

    The 1899 Mahina Cat 5 cyclone also hit a mainly unpopulated Cape York. It went southwest over Cape York Peninsula, emerging over the Gulf of Carpentaria before doubling back and dissipating on 10 March.

    Further noting about Mahina it was nearly two months later. The BOM computer modelling along with the CSIRO predicted these cyclones in their modelling. A shift of a 2 degrees latitude in a modelled global WARMING world also predicted the rainfalls QLD has been experiencing.

    Here it is word for word PREDICTED in climate models and QLD Government Climate Statement!

    Extreme rainfall is defined as the amount of rain falling in the top one per cent of rainfall days. Projections based on 15 climate models and a medium emissions (A1B) scenario indicated that Cape York can expect up to a four per cent increase in extreme rainfall across all seasons, and that western Queensland and the Gulf Region can expect up to a four per cent increase in summer and autumn (CSIRO & BoM 2007).

    Climate change is also likely to affect extreme rainfall in south-east Queensland (Abbs et al. 2007). Projections indicate an increase in two-hour, 24-hour and 72-hour extreme rainfall events for large areas of south-east Queensland, especially in the McPherson and Great Dividing ranges, west of Brisbane and the Gold Coast. For example, Abbs et al. (2007) found that under the A2 emissions scenario, extreme rainfall intensity averaged over the Gold Coast sub-region is projected to increase by 48 per cent for a two-hour event, 16 per cent for a 24-hour event and 14 per cent for a 72-hour event by 2070. Therefore despite a projected decrease in rainfall across most of Queensland, the projected increase in rainfall intensity could result in more
    flooding events.

    http://www.climatechange.qld.gov.au/pdf/climate-change-in-queensland-2010.pdf

    It is of course fine to be a climate skeptic – but if may I am in QLD right now. It’s enough to knock the skeptic out of anyone.

    Climate Change skeptical extinction may be expected by 2020.

  3. john byatt says:

    afternoon Ross,

    Climate change
    ” .Projections also indicate that the regions of east Australian cyclone genesis could shift southward by two degrees latitude (approximately 200 km) by 2050, Leslie et al (2007), while the average decay location could be up to 300 km south of the current location. Models estimate that the number of strong cyclones reaching the Australian coastline will increase, and ‘super cyclones’, with an intensity hitherto unrecorded on the Australian east coast, may develop over the next 50 years Leslie et al(2007).”

  4. fredorth says:

    The Australian situation is finally “starting” to get attention in the US.

  5. Pete_Ridley says:

    It’s good to see that this hurricane was far less damaging than was predicted. It’s time that Queenslanders had a break, but didn’t Julia make a monumental error. According to Bloomberg QUOTE: We will rebuild,” Prime Minister Julia Gillard told reporters in Canberra yesterday. “We will rebuild .. from anything that nature throws at us.” UNQUOTE (http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-02-03/far-north-queenslanders-begin-cleanup-as-cyclone-yasi-weakens.html).

    Fancy blaming Nature for these weather events. What an opportunity thrown away. She’ll start telling the truth about CACC next and we all know that such a failing is fatal in politics. If she doesn’t stop it the Greens simply won’t stand for it and she’ll be doing a Turnbull or a Rudd. Political “all-lies” can quickly become enemies.

    Best regards, Pete Ridley

    • adelady says:

      The reason this cyclone was less damaging than it might otherwise have been is simple good luck.

      Yasi changed course, but only slightly, thereby making landfall neatly halfway between the two major population centres, rather than impacting directly on either one. More importantly, it slowed down. Therefore landfall did not coincide exactly with high tide.

      As for your comments about higher death rates in earlier cyclones, exactly the same kind of statistics could be advanced about bushfires. It just so happens that we learn from our disasters. Tracy forced a rethink of cyclone resistant building standards throughout the whole of tropical Australia. The 1974 flood in Brisbane led to the formation of the SES, State Emergency Services for non-Australians. The SES is a volunteer organisation, parallel to our Country Fire Services – also volunteers. We have learnt from our major bushfires too. What we saw of firefighting in the Russian fires this last year horrified us – it looked like film from the unprepared, no safe clothing, no decent equipment, 40s and 50s in Oz.

      Lowering our death statistics from these events while increasing our population ten-fold is a sign of a sensible society – not a signal of reducing danger from extreme weather.

  6. john byatt says:

    The Climate Cranks have been posting the cyclone records for Qld towns covering the last hundred years, they seem to have missed out on Julia Creek.
    A storm chaser that has covered every cyclone for the past twenty years has stated that Yasi was the strongest ever encountered, It was very lucky that Yasi made landfall in a sparsely populated area. Winds speeds fifty Kms an hour above the cat 5 minimum level a new benchmark.

  7. Pete_Ridley says:

    John (Byatt) it would be helpful if you gave links to your sources of information so that they can be verified because I couldn’t find anything about a storm chaser from Julia Creek. I did come across one abc report “Storm chaser says north Qld got off lightly” (http://abcaustralia.com/news/stories/2011/02/03/3129467.htm?site=news) which says “A storm chaser who witnessed the full force of Cyclone Yasi has described it as the biggest he has seen” (similar wording to yours) but he is only going back 15 years. Whether it was the worst in 15 or 20 years is neither here nor there in climate terms because neither is going back far enough to be significant.

    I understand that tropical cyclones, like Yasi, are relatively common in the tropics and Northern parts of Queensland are in the tropics, but I live in England so could be wrong (although I did have two months travelling up and down the East coast of Australia back in 2000 and seem to recall a beautiful area called the Capricorn Coast – Capricorn, that rings a bell, oh, of course, the Tropic of Capricorn!

    I’ve just done a quick Google for – “Cyclone history” Queensland Australia – and found “Factbox – Australia’s deadliest & most destructive cyclones” (http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/02/02/uk-australia-cyclone-history-idUKTRE71113N20110202):
    – Mahina, 1899: Australia’s deadliest. It hit the far northeast coast of Queensland, killing more than 400 people, including the crews of around 100 pearling vessels. It still ranks as the country’s deadliest natural disaster, according to a government Web site.
    – Tracy, 1974: Category 4, Australia’s most destructive. It hit the small northern city of Darwin in the early hours of Christmas Day with wind gusts of up to 250 km per hour, destroying or badly damaging more than 70 percent of the city’s buildings. Tracy also killed 71 people and injured 650, though it was relatively small compared with Yasi.
    – Summer of 1918: Two cyclones (they have no names) hit the Queensland coast within two months of each other, killing a total of 120 people. The first, thought to have been a category 5, killed 30 people and dumped 1.4 metres rain in three days. The second killed nearly 90 people.
    – Larry, 2006: No lives were lost when it hit the Queensland coast, but damage to infrastructure and crops was extensive and estimated at more than A$1 billion (626 million pounds). It flattened sugarcane fields and cut Queensland’s raw sugar output by 8 percent.
    – Joan, 1975: one of the most intense tropical cyclones on record to hit Australia, this time on the northwest coast. It damaged buildings in the remote town of Port Headland and also railways.
    – Ingrid, 2005: a category 5 cyclone, it swirled across three states and territories — Queensland, the Northern Territory and Western Australia. It was small in size but very intense. No reports of serious injury or death.
    – Olivia, 1996: generated a wind gust of 408 kph (255 mph) on Barrow Island off west Australia, a world record.

    For comparison, Hurricane Katrina, 2005 – A category 5 hurricane off the Gulf of Mexico, it came ashore in August near New Orleans. It killed about 1,500 people on the U.S. Gulf Coast and caused $80 billion in damage, the costliest cyclone in U.S. history.

    As I ‘ve said before about extreme weather events, we’ve seen them all before, long before humans atarted usng significant amounts of fossil fuel.

    Best regards. Pete Ridley

    • Watching the Deniers says:

      And there have been at least 5 mass extinction events over the last >4bn years of the earths history:

      Flood basalt events occur as pulses of activity punctuated by dormant periods. As a result they are likely to cause the climate to oscillate between cooling and warming, but with an overall trend towards warming as the carbon dioxide they emit can stay in the atmosphere for hundreds of years.

      It is speculated that Massive volcanism caused or contributed to the End-Cretaceous, End-Permian, and End Triassic extinctions

      The PETM was associated an extinction rate of 90% – the most probable cause?

      Massive amounts of CO2 in the atmosphere pushing up global temperatures. There where swamps in the Arctic.

      “…The most extreme change in Earth surface conditions during the Cenozoic Era began at the temporal boundary between the Paleocene and Eocene epochs 55.8 million years ago. This event, the Paleocene–Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM, alternatively “Eocene thermal maximum 1” (ETM1), and formerly known as the “Initial Eocene” or “Late Paleocene Thermal Maximum”,[1] (IETM/LPTM)), was associated with rapid (in geological terms) global warming, profound changes in ecosystems, and major perturbations in the carbon cycle.

      Global temperatures rose by about 6°C (11°F) over a period of approximately 20,000 years. Many benthic foraminifera and terrestrial mammals went extinct, but numerous modern mammalian orders emerged. The event is linked to a prominent negative excursion in carbon stable isotope (δ13C) records from across the globe, and dissolution of carbonate deposited on all ocean basins. The latter observations strongly suggest that a massive input of 13C-depleted carbon entered the hydrosphere or atmosphere at the start of the PETM. Recently, geoscientists have begun to investigate the PETM in order to better understand the fate and transport of increasing greenhouse-gas emissions over millenial time scales.”

      I suspect not, and you’ll zip round the Internet cherry picking facts to soothe your anxiety that IT IS NOT TRUE!

      Your statements are Orwellian double-speak: The climate has always changed. The climate is not changing.

      There have always been mass extinctions.

      What’s the worry?

  8. Pete_Ridley says:

    Adelady, was your “The reason this cyclone was less damaging than it might otherwise have been is simple good luck” intended to be informative? If so it failed miserably. I don’t think that many intelligent individuals ever thought otherwise. I suppose there are those who thought that praying to their benevolent superpower might have caused Nature’s change of direction but I don’t think that many really believe that, do you?

    BTW, did I make any suggestion about some “ .. signal of reducing danger from extreme weather .. “. No, I thought not. Ti(Moth)y and others try to put words into my mouth too, but it really doesn’t achieve anything, other than making those who try it look dishonest. Mike just tried the same ploy but he knows full well that I have never said that “ .. The climate is not changing .. ”. I have no recollection of ever denying climate change, only that there is no convincing evidence that humans have a significant impact on global climates through using fossil fuels. Neither is there any convincing evidence that extreme weather events are caused by it. It is all simply scare mongering by those with ulterior motives having nothing whatever to do with trying to tame Nature.

    Well Mike, if Nature is going to throw another mass extinction at us so be it, but that is no reason to blame our use of fossil fuels. You’re simply grasping at straws in order to support your faith in the doctrine that our continuing use of fossil fuels is leading to catastrophic changes in those different global climates.

    Best regards. Pete Ridley

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