Cyclone Ita Update


Cooktown Before Cyclone Ita

Cooktown Before Cyclone Ita – Let’s hope something remains when all this is over

As promised I’m here to give the latest update on the monster storm that is due to hit the coast in just under an hour.  The storm system has intensified and is now on definite collision course with Cooktown and the surrounding areas. We are expecting a storm surge along the coast of up to 2 meters above high tide [which just for fun is due just as the storm is expected to make landfall] and the weather warnings are now predicting winds at 300 km/hr along the coast with possible massive flooding in Cairns and Townsville expected in the aftermath.

One of the terrible ironies about this system was that as part of the storm warnings people were told to evacuate if their home was built prior to 1985, sadly in Cooktown nearly every home fits that category as do the majority of the homesteads for the cattle properties in the Tableland area. Currently they expect the power to be out for up to four weeks in the surrounding area with loss of cell signal due to drop out as the storm crosses the coastline and moves further in as well as affecting some of the Southern areas such as Innisfail that had previously only been expecting a wild storm with some flooding but now could face part of the cyclone directly.

What this means for us here in Mackay is more rain and runoff from the rivers than we were expecting.  The possible loss of power in our area has been moved up to likely as the cyclone tracks slowly south from the cape. Wind speeds are expected to lessen within 24 to 48 hours and should be rating at a Category 1 or 2 by the time it gets close to us.  That is of course if it doesn’t begin to reform as it moves South West.  It isn’t the actual cyclone that is a true problem for the towns south of Townsville, the real problem will be with the flooding of the coastal rivers caused by the massive storm surge.

North Mackay

North Mackay

It won’t be anything more than a little uncomfortable for us [once again unless it reforms after destroying Cooktown and ripping through the tablelands] but for those in the immediate vicinity the next few days will be extremely dangerous.  Mackay and indeed much of North Queensland has experienced massive flooding over the past 5 years and as a result the water tables and runoffs are full. Any prolonged rainfall will mean flooding for us even without Mackay experiencing the full impact of Cyclone Ita.  This picture is of the football field and North Mackay State High School taken in the last floods and is sadly just 5 minutes from my home.

So out comes the emergency kit, first aid provisions, fresh water and gas cylinders to use on the camp stoves so that we will not be without the essentials – meaning coffee of course.It was fortunate it seems that Wednesday was grocery shopping day – so we are fully stock as well as having Eskies and ice for the frozen meats so that we won’t be forced to throw any out if the power goes.

Blogging in the dark, let's hope it doesn't come to that.

Blogging in the dark, let’s hope it doesn’t come to that.

Of course I have taken care of the most essential item, my laptop.  It is fully charged and should the power go I will just unplug and go into battery mode.  Hopefully the loss of the cell signal won’t affect us for long if at all this far away from the direct path of this storm.  The second and third most important is bringing in all outside furniture and pot plants [as we really don’t want the barbecue flying through a bedroom window this time – we’ve only just paid for the last one] and enough cigarettes should we not be able to get to the shops for a few days.  I will try to keep you posted as to the fate of those towns in the path of this cyclone and I would ask you to offer any prayers, blessings or positive thoughts for those who are in its path.  I would also like to thank all of you who wished me safe and well, it meant a lot and I was deeply touched.

 

48 thoughts on “Cyclone Ita Update

  1. Hang in there Jenni – sounds like you’re as prepared as you can be. (Love the fact that you’ve a supply of smokes – as a smoker – and charged laptop batteries) We are all holding our breath and crossing our fingers and praying for everyone in danger. Keep us posted.

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  2. Appreciate the update and it’s good to hear that you’re got the most important safety kit items covered – your laptop. Never leave home or sit in a storm without it. 🙂

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    • Absolutely not!! Shit – Oh damn I can hear the rumbles starting, the tail end got here faster – not catastrophic just bad. No lightning so I’m write for now with the comp. It was distant – maybe a couple of hours before we really feel the backlash.

      Thank goddess I didn’t go up to Townsville for the Reef Rally – it was on for Sunday but I was going to drive up yesterday but hurt my neck somehow. Apart from the storm Mackay just has to worry about the Pine River and the other major waterways flooding here in a few days.

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    • Thank you – I’m more worried about Cooktown – the mayor gave a statement a few hours back when it started crossing the coast with winds of 300 km/hr [they had hoped it would slow a little] – He was almost crying when he said that everyone had to prepare themselves for the fact that once this cyclone passed and they could leave the shelter Cooktown wouldn’t just be damaged – it most likely wouldn’t really exist. We all saw what Yasi did a few years ago – and those winds were only 80 km/hr.

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      • I know. I just checked on the BOM to see an update. 😦
        Glad to hear that you are okay. I just did a mini post on it, linking to you over here.

        Glad to hear you are safe for now. Yasi was a shocker and this is worse. I keep meaning to look up the coastal tides, re flooding. I read somewhere that over 600mls of water was going to fall every 6 hours?! Fudgebards and fungus if those figures are correct! 😦

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      • Sorry to tell you it’s worse, the storm surge hit with 2 meter wave at the same time as high tide. Still the rain may taper a bit if it breaks up over land. It will depend how badly the rivers overrun as to the level of flooding we’ll get here in a few days.

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      • Yeah that does cover it – I’m indulging in my Weekend Funny challenge material to make me feel better – Denis Leary is a wonderful pick-me-up. Funny as and boy he can rant up a storm – oops bad choice of imagery there as well as my favorite Judith Lucy.

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  3. Pingback: Cyclone ITA | Miss Lou Acquiring Lore

    • Thank you – we’re not in real trouble I don’t think other than the rain and winds to come – it’s those in it’s path now – Cooktown most likely be there tomorrow. I’m just hoping that property is the only thing lost.

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      • Ah well there are still 9000 trapped in Cooktown itself, they were evacing but the weather turned bad faster than they expected this arvo so most of them are at the city rescue center which is the only building in Cooktown rated for a Category 5 cyclone. So I’m going to be casting blessings all night I think – times like this I wish I still worked with a circle.

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      • :D, well it has slowed and while it has caused some pretty impressive damage it was not as devastating as it could have been. Cairns and Port Douglas are now in line of fire but it is mainly winds which have now dropped to 157 km/hr, heavy rain and the possibility of storm surge.

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  4. Sending thoughts and prayers for all those being affected by Ita. The increase in risk of catastrophic weather all over the world is a huge wake-up call and motivation to finally make the huge changes needed to address global climate change. Hoping that national leaders around the world will finally listen….

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      • 😦 Do your national level leaders tour areas after catastrophic weather events to see the destruction firsthand? So callous of them to disregard the suffering of the people they are supposed to be serving; they should not need to be hit themselves to care about what is happening to others!

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  5. Hopefully, the aftermath will not be as bad as anticipated. The hard part is waiting and wondering what happens next. Charging your laptop is not something I think I would have thought of, but I’m going to keep that in mind when in the face of disaster.

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    • Yes I’m really hoping that it will start to break up and lesson but when I last checked it was still increasing in wind speeds etc. So now it’s the waiting game – I have friends who live there and I don’t know if they made the evac or not.

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      • Hope your friends are all right, Jenni. Did you get a bit of sleep through the night? When I got up this morning and checked the ABC and seemed like the worst of the cyclone was over. But in any case, it is good that you are well prepared. I assume you are fairly safe now and not in danger of losing power? How is the flood situation?
        Our football fields near our house are somewhat flooded too this year. It’ll take a while for them to dry out sufficiently.
        Best Wishes, Aunty Uta from Dapto (Wollongong) south of Sydney.

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      • The worst as far as the cyclone is over but we’re going to be in for flooding due to the heavy rain and storm surges that are making there way south to Cairns.

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      • Not much sleep but we’re going to be OK here, just need to watch for flooding and high winds over the next three days. Thank you so much for you good wishes.

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    • It seems Nth Qld has escaped the worst although there is a lot of damage. Now its just a question of the heavy rains [200 mm] and storm surges. It will hit those places this afternoon and continue south west. I do think we’ll see flooding here in Mackay in about 3 days as the Daintree and Pioneer rivers are already about to burst the banks and that will only carry down to here.

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    • The worst is over now its just waiting out the wind and rains as well as hoping it doesn’t flood in the next day or two. Thank you for you good wishes. Jenni 🙂

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  6. Jenni,
    I’m so glad you’re keeping us up to date. I do send my thoughts your way for you as well as those in the direct path of Ita.
    I’m like you, my laptop and cig. supply would have to be there. Cyclones are nasty because they linger.
    Stay safe and update us when you can.

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