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.
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.
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.