Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Another disaster looming for Oz

After devastating floods in January 2011 Queensland is now bracing for the impact of category 5 cyclone Yasi. It is expected to hit Australian coast somewhere between Innisfail and Cardwell at about 11pm EST this evening, with winds over 200km/h. Emergency Management Queensland issued warnings that Yasi can cause “extensive damage and result in death or injury caused by flooding, buildings collapsing or flying debris.” The wind has already picked up to 93 km/h at Hamilton Island airport (6 pm AEDT).

Australian Bureau of Meteorology warns about "EXTREMELY DANGEROUS SEA LEVEL RISE [i.e. storm tide]… EXTREMELY DAMAGING WAVES, STRONG CURRENTS and FLOODING" as the cyclone approaches. Between Port Douglas and Ayr the winds will become DESTRUCTIVE with gusts in excess of 125 km/hr. Cyclone Yasi is expected to reach inland as far as Mt Isa.

The latest satellite image of the approaching cyclone and wind speed information for the impact area can be monitored live on’s Hazards Monitor pages (courtesy of free Bureau of Meteorology web services):

[turn on Clouds overlay to view the image, other layers are switched off]

[click wind icon in the top left corner of the map to add wind speed information layer and click/ move your mouse over the markers for details]

[02/02/2011 at 8pm AEDT] Latest BOM update on tropical cyclone Yasi: just a crude "translation" of predicted path into kmz format for easy sharing on a map .

[03/02/2011] It is not totally over yet but media reports indicate there was no major disaster: no lives were lost and although there are many damaged houses and almost 190,000 people without electricity, overall impact of Cyclone Yasi will most likely not be as devastating as was initially anticipated. Below some pictures documenting the event, as captured by various tools.

[Yasi crossing over to land - 3am AEDT]

[Yasi location at 9pm AEDT on 02/02/20011]

[Yasi location at 11pm 02/02/2011]

[Yasi crossing over to land at about 3am AEDT 03/02/2011]

[Place of impact - very faint background but visible]

[Weather station reading near Halifax/ Ingham at the time of impact showing wind speed of 137 km/h and gusts up to 165 km/h - very high but half of what was anticipated and may explain why the damage to infrastructure was not so extensive.]

Related posts:
Another natural disaster tragedy in Oz
Bushfires (with special feature on 2009 Victorian bushfires)

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