Thursday, 27 January 2011

Can't blog. Got to watch cyclones.

Been glued to Weatherzone since the Brisbane floods, watching discussion threads about the string of low pressure systems heading this way.

Cyclone season is early this year, and the systems are coming in at lower latitudes. There is currently a category 3 storm headed for NZ of all places! The second two models are a long way out (for cyclones, which can whip up very quickly). However, I reckon if I were Anna Bligh, I wouldn't be racing to hand out that recovery money just yet. There is a fair bit more shit and buggery coming up. When those systems cross the coast they'll drop their shit load of rain to the south. Don't think they're going to be doing much mining up here in QLD anytime soon.

These colours represent potential precipitation, white being the most but there are other model charts,  with cascading psychedelic computer loops of ocean temperature, convection currents and beautiful wind flow patterns. I think these charts are why I'm so addicted. It's the hook of pattern recognition - humans can't resist the temptation to try to figure out patterns - the more complex the better. Trying to imagine the four dimensional churning of all these plotted measurements of wind, air pressure, temperature, vapor and currents above the sloshing of a vast ocean of water around the middle of a giant ball of cooling molten rock hurtling through freezing space has got me completely mesmerised. 

Having experienced a couple in my childhood, tropical cyclones leave me in slack jawed awe. That second system is a 1000 miles wide! It is gigantic. Of course, it could be way off. The modeling is after all done by a computer and system number 2 may not eventuate or make landfall. Such a possibility doesn't bear thinking about. The damage from a system this size will be terrible and the repair bill astronomical, and it could cross anywhere between Byron and Cape York at this stage.

But man, look at that thing! The fact that is might happen next week, as it has many times in the past - makes you feel about as significant as an amoeba in the scheme of things. 

Queensland - beautiful one day.....

TC Anthony, due to cross coast Sun 30 Jan. On track and gathering strength.

As yet unnamed, forecast to cross the coast Fri 4 Feb. Just forming up now.

But wait, there's more! System 3 forecast to cross Wed Feb 9.
And with a little friend forming up behind it appears.
And a new one forming off WA for good measure.


  1. NB: The systems are moving towards the coast from the east and spinning clockwise.

  2. The other thing I love about the discussion thread is that the behavior of animals is being noted along with readings of humidity, pressure, wind speed etc. The ants have already started packing up their eggs and moving to higher ground in the region of the approaching cyclone - and they don't have computers! Or BOM. How do they do that?

  3. !!!!!!! the weather loop is almost pretty, in a horrific way...very worrying...Feb 4 is the one to watch I reckon

  4. I know, completely scary. But, if we're going to insist on living on the edge of this extraordinary continent, we have to take the good with the bad and batten down the hatches ever ten years. It's not as if we don't KNOW this shit happens. We just have incredibly short memories or a vast capacity to suppress the stuff we don't want to face.

    Shopping list for tomorrow includes a generator.

  5. Peachy. I have a son on Hayman Island. Oh well, good thing I am used to sleepless nights.

  6. This morning, a comment on the weather thread:
    "Beautiful morning in Townsville, not a breath of wind and beautiful clear blue skies. No birds tweeting though.

  7. There's still space here in Tasmania...

  8. No birds tweeting. This is something I would not enjoy personally, given their abilities to predict weather. Have done the mummy thing and sent message to son instructing him to make preparations for evacuation bag and to have laptop and phone fully charged at all times.
    Anthony has reformed as expected.
    Pass the sedatives for mother please.

  9. Nah, TC Athony is only a baby DD. Category 2 probably - a dangerous storm, but NOTHING like the big one coming behind it about a week away.

    Anna Bligh has gone way out on a limb in warning people against this system which shall be named YULI. Usually, the BOM just issues watches and warnings 48 and 24 hours out from impact with the coast. Anna has taken a big risk here. This storm hasn't even fully formed, and already the premier is warning us to prepare. This storm is likely to be category 4. According to the models, it will have a LOT of rain in it. Too early to predict where it will cross the coast, but when it does, Central and SE catchments will be in for some heavy rain. On top of the moisture already in the ground, the run off could be disastrous - again.

    The risk she takes is that if the storm is a fizzer, then people will become complacent ad accuse her of crying wolf.

    Dammit - just got my seedlings in. Hope they don;t drown.

  10. yeah..Bligh is between a rock and a hard place I thinks. Say nothing and if it eventuate..SLAMMED, and then, like you mention, if it fizzels...screwed again.

    I'd go the former, if I was in her boots. I wondered about this the other week..wet approaching, Cyclones...FAAAARK!...not good!.

    PS, four stroke generators are slightly more expensive..but more reliable and use less fuel!

    be good

  11. my parents bought a generator last week in Brisbane and I teased them about it...they'll have the last laugh then, by the look of it.

    dont you find it wierd just how short our memories are for weather and stuff? it can be minus 45 degrees a fortnight ago but if everyones had a taste of nice weather they get all freaked out when it gets chilly again. floods, frosts, snow storms, droughts, cyclones, freaking hailstorms pummelling the earth- we just FORGET. it must be serving some evolutionary purpose.

  12. If you want scary, I was chatting a Possum Puncher (QP&WS) Beardy a while back after they evacced Fraser Is. From John Q Public's perspective it was all "Nanny State" & a disorganised Clusterfk. From his perspective it went quite well. From this topic we branched off into a general evacuation story & he told me about the imminent tragedy called Hervey Bay.
    For those not familliar, HB is a retirement town of 45 odd thousand old folks, parked right on the waters edge, a big surge funnel called Hervey Bay. Duh. Anyhoo HB is served by 2 X 2-lane roads & a train line all set very low & flood vulnerable. This has made the Piggies & Emergency (mis)Management QLD calculate it will take 72 hours plus to evac HB.
    Remember that 72 hours +.

    Tropical Cyclones irrespective of ferocity or gender zig and zag like nobodies business. The only predictable feature of their track is the unpredictablity. As a result the BOM will only forecast a track out to 48 hours. @ 48 hours the vector of possible track can be 200kms wide. Effectively useless for evac decision making.

    So, to safely evac HB you need a minimum 72hrs.
    The Best BOM will forecast is 48hrs.
    anyone else see a problem?

  13. I guess this is why Anna has gone early with the warning. The way this one is shaping up, it's a question of nowhere to run, nowhere to hide. At this early stage of development it is vast. And fast.

    This way, people can't say they weren't warned. But they will. I remember the fires in Vic. A few days before the Premier of Vic was all over the ABC saying worst scenario ever etc - did people pay attention? But then, same problem - where do fifty thousand people evacuate to?

    Funny thing that is happening on the forums though is that everyone from Cairns thinks Yuli will hit there, Mackay think it will cross there, and Brissy people are sure it will cross there.

    Currently making bunker preparations here. There is a gigantic grandis behind our house. It's feet are in a creek bed which was a raging torrent for a week or two. Add to that even a mild cyclonic blow and more rain...

  14. Thanks for the heads up on the generator HVK.

    Must be evolutionary. Ant's have some kind of pressure sensitivity that lets them know ages before a storm that they have to get to higher ground. Humans are more like spiders. We stay in the storm's path and bear the brunt of it, deluded by the capacity of our structures to protect our sorry fleshy pink arses, then when nature shows us just how vulnerable we are, we forget it and start again.

  15. spidie analogy..quite nice Hughesy,

    I usually use ( when describing myself in such a situation), the likes off... KIMBA THE WHITE LION, Standing steadfast, muscles rippling against on on coming horde....

    hey, it works for me!...I should mention Lips curled snarling as well

  16. Childbirth is another that comes to mind - you never remember the last one till you're about to go into labour - oh, that's right, this HURTS!

  17. LOL....Mayhem was gunna shoot me for using that the other day!...