Friday, 4 February 2011

Uh oH - Barnes! Where are you?

Cyclone tracks since 1970. SEQ has had quite a few cross the coast and make a bit of a mess.
When I first saw the original GFS (Global Forecasting System) for what became YASI, it gave Fraser Coast as the crossing. I'm born and raised in QLD - Ingham and Brisbane, have experienced cyclones as a kid in both both NQ and SEQ, the '74 Brisbane flood in my early teens and a spectacular hail storm in Sydney in my thirties that cut a swathe through the eastern suburbs and smashed my tile roof to smithereens. I have a healthy respect for extreme weather. 
    Thankfully the system headed north and became the bomb that lobbed on FNQ and spared us. That GFS model now suggests a similar scenario in ten days, maybe two weeks and again, it is initially aimed at the SS Coast. Having lived in Sydney for twenty odd years, I had almost forgotten that the possibility of a cyclone crossing at Fraser Island is perfectly reasonable. It is a weather magnet a the best of times.
Looks like we might be next cab off the rank for a beating.

Here is the plan so far:
1. get hold of a generator, 
2. move all the crap out of a brick half-underground carport and set it up as a bunker; line with all spare mattresses
3. methodically accumulate a cyclone store of essentials and set about cleaning up the property of projectiles. 
4. Check insurance policy for storm and flood cover, gather together all ID, policies and a cash stash.
5. Start packing up the really valuable irreplaceable stuff 
6. Clear the property of projectiles
7. Tie the sheds down.
8, Cross fingers and hope like hell this is all unnecessary
9. FIre up the freezer and fill it up with supplies

Neither of us is young any more - we'll need a full two weeks to get all that together.
The plan is now in full swing. 

Living in Quseensland 101: Always build on a hill, and know that no matter where you live between Cape York and Straddy, there is a cyclone with your name on it.  


  1. don't forget to lay in red wine supplies...reckon in the midst of howling armageddon you could forget the diet for a few days...

  2. You are indeed a wise woman. Will be needing a sleeping draught. Medicinal red wine.

  3. I know it's feasible, yeah... but come on! And since when have ten day advance models had any kind of accuracy? I have to admit: I was really surprised that Yasi did as predicted. That's not cyclonic behaviour as I remember it!

  4. I do realise this FH - but when a low fires up in the coral sea, as it did two weeks ago, sitting around hoping it will be someone else's problem is about as useful as a wet paper cup. They can, and do, as you know, go anywhere they damn well please, and it could just as easily have been here.

    If we do end up with the next one on our doorstep I won't be running around like a blue-arsed fly along with every other bugger panic-buying at the last minute. The shelves out here in the sticks run out very bloody quickly.

    That's all I'm saying.

  5. Are you kidding, reading your posts I am in AWE of your prep for a Zombieapocalypse. I'd bet on you against any three category 5 cyclones you again

  6. Water supplies as well as the medicinal red methinks!! Shhhh about the not oung thing. I came home from work after the hailstorm. One wall of my home was floor to ceiling glass... BEFORE the storm. I came home to a loungeroom litetred with shards of glass.. I remember.

  7. We'll be OK for water Maggs - our big tank is underground. And full.

    How scary was that storm? As orange teracotta rained down along side great rocks of hail, I eventually figured out is was some poor bugger's roofing tiles. Never occurred to me it would be mine. Not till a couple of hours later as water started cascading down the walls did I realise that the ceiling was full of ice! And the noise! I seriously thought we were under attack.

  8. Forgive me: I didn't mean to imply your preparedness was unnecessary, or futile. I grew up in FNQ, and the list of precautions you've put up there is second nature to me. (Except for the generator and the bunker. We just lived without electricity in the wake of a big storm, and we only ever bothered to bunker down if it became clear the cyclone was actually targeting us.)

    I was just surprised by the idea of an accurate ten-day forecast. Still am. I don't know how they managed to do so well with Yasi. They never got anywhere near that level of accuracy when I was younger, even with satellites, etc. I actually thought chaos theory suggested that predicting the path of something like a cyclone was always going to be fraught.

  9. @FH Generally, they are not accurate. For Yasi, the ten day out forecast was for Fraser Is, not Mission Beach. But it was extraordinary to watch that thing spin up out of nothing.

    The several models all tend to disagree wildly with each other until about 5 days out. Once they all come into alignment and the cyclone has entered the coral sea, that's when I start to really pay attention.

    The data they feed into the models is getting more and more sophisticated and, with telecommunications being so much more reliable and remote station instrumentation also much more reliable, the models are throwing up better forecasts.

    Since having a computer that can actually pull up all the sites and charts (which I've never had before) I've become a bit of a nerd about the weather. It also coincides with the weather of late being so damned extreme up here.

    Who'd have thought that geography could ever become interesting?

  10. The generator & general high level of preparedness is also because my 84 year old mother is part of the equation. It's her garage up the road we'll be bunkered in. No generator equals spoiled food after 3 days and friends in Cairns are finding out the emergency lasts more than just 24 hrs.
    There is a 30 mtr flooded gum behind our house, they are not called widow makers for nothing, if one of the big branches comes off I don't want to be sitting in this house. It's way too big and much to beautiful to consider chopping down. Better just to run away!

  11. Thats the tree - not the house, though it's fairly beautiful too.

  12. Cap'n Flint. Yasi had a very strong high pressure ridge that was guiding it far far far more predictably than the usual run-of-the-mill cyclone.

    Loading your domestic freezer isn't a bad idea, but; Dont have more than you can eat in a week. You outlayers will be the last to be reconnected to the grid. & throwing out spoiled food is a sin/
    Make the food portions small (1 meal) & flat for easy defrost - No microwave.
    Layer with milk / fizz bottles 3/4 full - use the coolth of the frozen water blocks to keep the Freezer cold. If you only dip into it once or twice a day, depending on the build quality they can stay frozen solid for 2 or 3 days.
    You can help this with a top sheet of (best case) mylar, (almost as good) a foiled winds-screen sun shade doover. This is good because the weekest link in the freezer's insulation is the door / lid.
    You could wrap each meal in newspaper, but the extra insulation is minimal, it masks if it has defrosted & leaves ink on everything.
    After fossiking for tonights dinner top up the coolth with 1 hour generator runs.
    A layer of frozen bread loaves add nothing for thermal mass but does insulate. Think of all them lovely air bubbles.

  13. I'm not resourceful enough to survive in the bush.
    My disaster plan involved buying a house nestled high on a very big hill on the same power grid as a big Mo Fo hospital and a jail.
    Thus ensuring that power never goes off for more than 30 minutes before everyone from the army to the local CIB running like rats to power it up again.

    Then the bastards took away my jail, and then yuppies started moving in.