Climate

Masters: Extremely dangerous Tropical Cyclone Yasi bears down on flooded Queensland, Australia

http://www.bom.gov.au/fwo/IDQ65001.gif?1296597472688

In a globally warmed world, the saying will be rewritten:  When it rains, it deluges.   The warmest sea surface temperatures in Australian records have been fueling floods called ‘biblical’ “” floods covering an area “the size of France and Germany combined.” ABC News has explained “Raging Waters In Australia and Brazil Product of Global Warming.”

But now, water-logged Queensland is bracing for Category 4 Yasi, which itself is crossing over the warmest waters on record for the region.  Meteorologist and former hurricane hunter Dr. Jeff Masters has the details:

Tropical Cyclone Yasi continues to intensify as it speeds westwards towards vulnerable Queensland, Australia. Yasi, now a Category 4 storm with 140 mph winds, is under light wind shear of 5 – 10 knots, and over warm ocean waters of 29°C (84°C). The sea surface temperatures over the region of ocean Yasi is traversing (10S – 20S, 145E – 160E) were 1.2°C above average during December, the latest month we have data for from the UK Hadley Center. This is the highest value on record, going back to the early 1900s. Low wind shear and record warm sea surface temperatures will continue to affect Yasi for the next day, and the cyclone should be able to maintain Category 4 strength until landfall Wednesday evening (local time.)

Queensland faces three major threats from Yasi. The cyclone will bring torrential rainfall to a region with saturated soils that saw record flooding earlier this month. The latest rainfall rates in Yasi’s eyewall as estimated by NASA’s Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) satellite are 20 mm (0.8″) per hour. The GFS model is predicting that a wide swath of Queensland will receive 5 – 10 inches of rain over the next week, due to the combined effects of Yasi and a moist flow of tropical air over the region. Fortunately, Yasi is moving with a rapid forward speed, about 21 mph, and is not expected to linger over Queensland after landfall. The heaviest rainfall will miss Queenland’s most populated regions to the south that had the worst flooding problems earlier this month, including the Australia’s third largest city, Brisbane.

Yasi will bring highly destructive winds to a region of coast near the city of Cairns (population 150,000.) Townsville (population 200,000) is farther from the expected landfall of the eyewall, and should see lesser winds. Strong building codes have been in place in Queensland since the 1960s, which will help reduce the damage amounts.

A dangerous storm surge in excess of ten feet can be expected along the left front quadrant of the storm where it comes ashore. The critical thing will be when Yasi hits relative to the tidal cycle. The tidal range between low and high tide along the coast near Cairns will be about 2 meters (6 feet) during the evening of February 2. If Yasi hits at low tide, a 10-foot storm surge will only bring the water levels four feet above mean tide, but a strike at high tide would bring water levels a full ten feet above mean tide. High tide is at 9pm EST (local) time in Cairns on February 2.

Yasi is comparable to Cyclone Larry of 2006, which hit Queensland as a Category 4 storm with 135 mph winds. Larry killed one person and caused $872 million in damage (2011 U.S. dollars.) Yasi is a much larger storm than Larry, though, and will bring heavy rains to a region with soils already saturated from record rains. Yasi is likely to be a billion-dollar disaster for Australia.

In this country, the precipitation is coming down as snow in what is already becoming a record-smashing blizzard, as Masters explains in the same post.

Of course it remains An amazing, though clearly little-known, scientific fact that we get more snow storms in warm years.  See also Another terrific ABC News story “” on the role global warming is playing in extreme winter weather.

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94 Responses to Masters: Extremely dangerous Tropical Cyclone Yasi bears down on flooded Queensland, Australia

  1. Prokaryotes says:

    This is a little bit like watching Kathrina’s approach …

    Further to consider, economic impacts:

    When checking out the wiki of Crains, we learn that the region has adjusted to tourism

    Tourism plays a major part in the Cairns economy. According to Tourism Australia, the Cairns region is the fourth-most popular destination for international tourists in Australia after Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.[15] While the city does not rank amongst Australia’s top 10 destinations for domestic tourism, it attracts a significant number of Australian holiday makers given its distance from major capitals.[16] The city’s proximity to the Great Barrier Reef, the Wet Tropics of Queensland, and the Atherton Tableland makes it a popular destination. The city contains hundreds[17] of hotels, resorts, motels and backpackers hostels. Activities in the region include golf, white water rafting, cruises to the Great Barrier Reef, and coach tours to the Daintree Rainforest, Atherton Tableland and Paronella Park. There are also scenic flights, day trips to Kuranda, crocodile farms, and a food-and-wine tour visiting tropical fruit wineries.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cairns,_Queensland#Economy

    All this is adversely affected from climate change and this storm just marks a new unprecedented event, which might also stall or progress lower …

    Beside all this info, just another ultimate wake up call for immediate large scale action to counter further climate change!

    “Ocean water temperature, has the highest value on record, with observation going back to the early 1900s.”

    What the hell you waiting for? Stop fossil subsidies, change to clean tech and create a new economy in the process!

  2. Sou says:

    You can follow the cyclone on the NOAA site as a colourised IR loop:
    http://www.goes.noaa.gov/sohemi/sohemiloops/shirgmscol.html

    And the BoM radar will show the rainfall:
    http://www.bom.gov.au/products/IDR191.loop.shtml#skip

    The eye seems to have formed now, and will show up on the Cairns radar soon. (You can see the eye on the Willis Island radar on the BoM site.)

    Stay safe, Queenslanders.

    Hope the snow is manageable for those in the USA.

  3. MapleLeaf says:

    It looks like SSTs have cooled somewhat, probably b/c of tropical cyclone Anthony causing some mixing. They are still about 0.5 to 1.0 K above average though:

    http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/psd/map/images/sst/sst.anom.gif

    This does not look good for Queensland. Our thoughts are with them.

  4. Prokaryotes says:

    Australian News
    Cyclone Yasi 1st Feb 2011 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FUrkDQnkhAQ

  5. John McCormick says:

    The destruction of climate warning in 2011 is on a path to make the destruction of 2010 a distant memory.

    Use Google Earth to see the layout of the city of Cairns. It is in Yasi’s crosshair.

    We live in the moment and cannot perceive into the future. That makes us all passengers on a ship of fools.

    John McCormick

  6. Alteredstory says:

    Right, because they haven’t had enough water recently.

    I wonder if they’ll get a break, or if they’re just going to keep getting hammered till they give up and move out.

  7. MADurstewitz says:

    Welcome to the Age of Consequences.

  8. paulm says:

    It’s still real and it’s still a problem
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/8568377.stm

    Our yearly water testing over 20 years has shown an average rise in temperature in our rivers of 0.6C (1.1F). These are small signals, but like the canary in the mine, they foretell greater danger in the future.

  9. Esop says:

    2010 was a bad year for the deniers.
    2011 will be even worse.

    [JR: Well, 2011 will probably only be a top-10 year. 2012 may be the extreme year.]

  10. Chris Yonge says:

    “warm ocean waters of 29°C (84°C)”? That is serious ocean warming ;-)

  11. toby says:

    A record breaking flood AND a record tropical cyclone hitting the same regions, within weeks of each other. Whats the odds?

    Welcome to Climate Disruption.

  12. Esop says:

    #9 (Joes comment): Agreed on the temperature. I was thinking more in terms of extreme weather events. 2012/13 will set the new standard, though.

  13. paulm says:

    11 toby and fire….

    Raging fire destroys homes in Victoria
    http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2011/02/01/3127301.htm

  14. paulm says:

    Crews battle blazes in Victoria
    http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2011/02/01/3127123.htm

    Country Fire Authority spokesman Mark Reid says crews are being stretched.

    “Weather conditions are far worse than what was expected and what was predicted,” he said.

  15. Barry says:

    “Hey little kid, gimme that!”

    These extreme weather events once again show that the adults profiting off Dirty Coal are snatching money, food and safety from the children.

    I wonder if after this preview of misery to come, the good folks of Queensland will continue to give a free pollution pass to their rapacious coal industry? I sure hope not.

  16. Colorado Bob says:

    I was looking at some of secondary effects last night . Queensland may lose 1/3 of their sugar cane crop, many of the recent rains have been falling south of the impact area of Yasi, hence the cane crop in the area has been largely spared so far.

    The really bad one though is the coal fields, there are 57 open pit mines . 15 have been completely flooded. There are mines north of Cairns, in the Laura Basin field . My guess is that that number of 15 will increase.

    A map of the coal fields #4 of 19 :
    Here

  17. Colorado Bob says:

    When the pumping does begin, all that pit water will be discharged directly into the nearest drainage, and into the sea.

    Following this on the JTWC , they have increased the forecast wind speeds by 10 kts, and dropped it’s weakening before land fall.

    Peak winds are now forecast at 149 mph, gusts to 184 mph.

    The JTWC has been spot one in these forecasts.

    http://www.usno.navy.mil/JTWC/

  18. Barry says:

    Hell and High Water at the same time.

    Queensland is suffering record rainfall and flooding in the most expensive natural disaster in Australian history.

    Now it is about to be hit by a record monster Cat 5 hurricane with wind gusts of 280 – 300 km/h and a storm surge of 2.5m above king tide.

    Meanwhile: “This week is likely to be Sydney’s hottest on record as western suburbs swelter in seven days of 35-degree heat, and the city endures six days of temperatures above 30 degrees.”

  19. Colorado Bob says:

    Speaking of mines …….

    Copper hits record on Cyclone Yasi fears

    Concern about the impact of Cyclone Yasi on metals production in Queensland resulted in copper hitting $US9810 a tonne and tin $US30,400 a tonne on the London Metal Exchange….Two years ago, it was trading at below $US3000 per tonne ……. several of the world’s largest mines are ageing and ore grades are falling – and demand is expected to push prices above $US10,000 this year, analysts have predicted.
    http://www.theaustralian.com.au/business/markets/copper-hits-record-on-cyclone-yasi-fears/story-e6frg91o-1225998438605

  20. MapleLeaf says:

    According to the NHC (NOAA), storm surge for a category 4 storm is typically 13-18 ft (4-5.5 m), greater than 18 ft (5.5 m) for cat 5.

    Unbelievable…

  21. Robert In New Orleans says:

    Any signs the Australian people are having that break through moment of mental clarity in understanding the relationship of these extreme weather events to global warming?

  22. LT says:

    Robert @ 22.
    In short, NO.

  23. JCH says:

    Lord no. Their blogs are full of accusations that “drought forever” climate scientists brainwashed their dam engineers into storing too much water and thereby causing the Brisbane flood.

  24. adelady says:

    Robert@22. Sorry to say, not many.

    A lot are like my 85 year old mum. This is the country of “droughts and flooding rains” – a line from a poem. Can’t see that this really is different.

    Her saving grace is that she, along with many of her friends, think it’s a disgrace that Australia gets less power from solar than Germany does. They’re all competing with each other to see who’s the first to get a negative power bill from their PV installations.

  25. dorlomin says:

    Prokaryotes says:
    February 1, 2011 at 11:46 am

    This is a little bit like watching Kathrina’s approach …
    = = = = = = = = = =
    I had that thought myself, Its supposed to retain hurricane strength out to Mount Isa. Yeah gods she is an utter beast.

  26. Colorado Bob says:

    MapleLeaf –

    The number of a Cat 5 storm surge, plus 6 feet of king tide, plus this :

    MAXIMUM SIGNIFICANT WAVE HEIGHT AT 011200Z IS 38 FEET.

  27. Colorado Bob says:

    “drought forever” climate scientists

    When the mega fires come they look for matches, never mind the zero humidity and 114F degrees and 60 mph winds that come before, it always about the matches as the cause.

  28. Mike (another one) says:

    Just to update everyone. Yasi is now a category 5 with winds of up to 186 mph (300 kph).

    http://www.bom.gov.au/products/IDQ65002.shtml

  29. Colorado Bob says:

    The area where Yasi comes ashore has several national parks , the surge will be focused into a bay at Cardwell :

    http://www.maplandia.com/australia/queensland/cardwell/

  30. Colorado Bob says:

    Doing a screen shot of Cardwell from Google earth now, beautiful place.

  31. Paulm says:

    Hansen was wrong!

    Can’t imagine what the Storms of our grandchildren are going to be like.

  32. dorlomin says:

    Gonna be a real hardship for the reef.

    Gonna be a bitter time for the people.

    Gonna hurt the economy mightly.

  33. Colorado Bob says:

    Billions of dollars worth of agricultural produce and machinery could be affected by Tropical Cyclone Yasi.

    Cyclone Larry wiped out an estimated $300 million worth of bananas in 2006, but Yasi could do more damage, as it’s a bigger storm covering a much wider area.

    Sugarcane worth $1 billion is also likely to be severely affected, between Mossman to Townsville.

    One of the world’s last tropical dairy herds is in the path of Yasi, as is much of Australia’s northern fishing fleet.

    http://www.abc.net.au/rural/news/content/201102/s3127664.htm

  34. Colorado Bob says:

    Farmer Steve Guzzo says the cyclone is another difficulty for Ingham growers to deal with.

    “We’re just wondering what we’ve done wrong,” he said.

    “It’s just been a continuous pounding since August last year virtually. There’s doesn’t seem to be any let up.

    “As soon as things seem to be looking okay, something else comes around the corner.”

  35. Rabid Doomsayer says:

    http://www.bom.gov.au/products/IDR413.loop.shtml
    Willis Island radar has dropped out. Either that or it has been turned off.

    Huge amount of coverage in the Australian media. No mention of climate change, as expected.

  36. bill says:

    While the floods in Queensland and Victoria (where the slow-moving ‘inland sea’ that was the Loddon River is still clearly visible on satellite imagery and will take weeks to dissipate into the Murray) were going on there were also floods and flood warnings in New South Wales, Tasmania, and even South Australia (believe me, that’s weird!). As well as bushfires raging and threatening homes near Perth in Western Australia.

    A huge swathe of South Australia’s interior just saw 30 and 40 year record high-temperatures, East Gippsland in Victoria is on fire, and Queensland is about to be hit by a storm ‘unlike anything seen before’ to quote Murdoch’s Herald Sun (Surely their in-house deniers will take umbrage at such a speculative, alarmist claim!).

    The key question is; how dumb do Australians want to be in the face of all this? There’s already a huge political debate federally because of opposition to a one-off levy to fund the rebuilding of Queensland and Victoria, and here’s another $multi-million ($billion?) disaster staring us in the face! As I keep asking on other forums – to no response from even prolific deniers thus far – ‘what is the conservative position on conducting a radical experiment with the one atmosphere you possess?’

    Australia – already a land of extremes – is incredibly vulnerable to the projected shifts in climate, and yet even the authoritative ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) still feels the need to ‘balance’ the WMO’s report on record temps in 2010 with the likes of Bob Carter!

    We simply cannot afford to be ‘the land of droughts and flooding rains and then some‘!

  37. Colorado Bob says:

    Latest Weather Observations for Willis Island

    http://www.bom.gov.au/products/IDQ60801/IDQ60801.94299.shtml

    She stopped recording wind speeds with a 185 kph gust, but the pressure readings continue. They’ve fallen off a cliff.

  38. MapleLeaf says:

    Rabid @35,

    The last sustained wind speed from Willis Island was 133 km/hr, before it too went offline (anemometer probably broke). The station is still reporting temperature though.

    The radome could have been damaged or they could have switched off to be safe.

  39. adelady says:

    Rabid – I think once the 24 hours of terror has passed and the numbers on wind strength, tide surge, rainfall and everything are in, people will ask “Why so strong?”.

    And the answer might just be SST.

    The next question is “Why so high a SST?”

    But all of this is probably a week or so hence, depending on just how awful or ‘phew, that was close’ it turns out to be.

  40. MapleLeaf says:

    ColoradoBob @36,

    We cross-posted. The anemometer on Willis Island seems to have broken after the wind gusts exceeded 185 km/hr. Last sustained wind was 141 km/hr.

  41. dorlomin says:

    Hitting close to high tide.

  42. Colorado Bob says:

    The location of Willis island :

    Here

  43. risa bear says:

    For scale, those U.S. and U.K. may wish to see this.

  44. ozajh says:

    And yet the Leader of the main Australian Opposition party remains a fully-fledged Climat Change denialist. (His party is conservative, although titled the Liberal Party for historical reasons. The main center-left party, which is in power only with the help of a few Independents, is the Australian Labor Party.)

  45. Rob Jones says:

    I have friends in Cairns and feel sorry for them but I am of the firm view that we need ever more of these things in Australia until the Murcdoch dominated press can no longer pretend that climate change is a scientific conspiracy.
    Soon ordinary Australians won’t be able to afford insurance with all the flood, fire, drought and storm damage. When that happens people might start to question the value of our coal sales.
    The sad thing is that stopping coal won’t stop the calamities and our children will be the ones to pay for ruperts sins and our ignorance.

  46. Tom Bennion says:

    The Greens have said that Yasi is ‘tragedy of climate change’. See here:

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2011/02/01/3127184.htm?site=tropic&section=news&date=(none)

    There is some pushback on twitter that I have seen and that you can search for.

    I have located some thought provoking pushback that makes the point that, in terms of “tropical storms in the Australian region 1970-2005” its not easy to spot a trend– there is no increase in the number of storms and no decline in severity in that period.

    http://blogs.news.com.au/heraldsun/andrewbolt/index.php/heraldsun/comments/who_will_be_the_first_to_blame_global_warming/

    Is this data too constrained, or does it make a good point? Going backwards the data would include Tracy (1974) and Mahina (1899). Would be interested in comments.

    Here is pushback from an opposition Senator. He argues that the Greens are cynically making political capital from the cyclone:

    http://www.garyhumphries.com/2011/02/1413

    I take his reasoning to be “please do not mention the scientific causes which scientists say are contributing to this phenomenon – and will likely cause more of the same – because it upsets the fringe scientific views held by some of my constituents.” Who is being cynical here? Worse, who is now risking lives?

  47. Linda Dicmanis says:

    Nobody I know believes in climate change. They say it is all natural events/cycles etc.
    I won’t even have the satisfaction of saying “I told you so” and hold the moral high ground because I’m going to go under the same as everyone else. No one will be left unscathed economically.
    I just got solar, have my own over-abundant veggie garden, but someone with a gun will come and take it away when the riots over lack of food, water, oil start.
    Humans killed themselves.
    The Egyptian demonstrations are less about Mubarak, more about food and high oil prices. That rioting will spread to every country of the globe as people blame the govt instead of themselves. Everyone who tried to insulate themselves by getting solar etc, will not survive because everyone will be fair game in the fight for survival.
    What a world we have created for ourselves. What a future. It’s tempting to say “eat, drink, be merry – for tomorrow we die.” Never was that more true than now.
    And we have just reached the cusp of the disasters. God help us.

  48. Sou says:

    @Tom Benninon – going by the BoM website it looks as if major floods in Queensland have increased in number the past decade or two.

    http://www.bom.gov.au/hydro/flood/qld/fld_reports/reports.shtml

    The records only go back to the early days of European settlement 150 or so years ago. Over time I expect there will be more data collected going back to prior centuries. But does it matter? The cause of events today are different to the causes of past events.

    At the time of Cyclone Larry hit Innisfail and region in 2006 it was thought to be a 1 in 100 year event. Now Yasi, which totally dwarfs Larry, is centered close to Innisfail, fueled by record sea surface temperatures.

    It will take several decades (if ever) to statistically measure the trend in the number and/or intensity of events like this. Do we really want to wait until a trend is statistically proven before we take action?

    Looking at television the situation is dire. Many evacuation centres are not certified as cyclone proof and some have filled so have had to close to newcomers. People are sheltering in shopping centres or wherever they can get in. Those who left it late are at risk of leaving it too late. The dire warnings have broadcast widely for some days now but some people have still not taken heed. (Some are out windsurfing, believe it or not.)

    Old timers are better prepared with underground bunkers on high ground, from concrete-lined holes to buried shipping containers. And being very generous with sharing their space with others who are not as well prepared.

    The sea surge if it coincides with high tide will be the big killer.

  49. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    The only people in Australia making the obvious link between our mad, erratic weather, with extremes of heat, rainfall, cyclones, fires, droughts all going on at once in various parts of the country, are the Greens. For this they are daily pilloried, abused and vilified in increasingly hysterical manner, by the denialist industry, the Murdoch robopaths, as ever, to the fore. Murdoch’s local flagship ‘The Fundament’ (aka The Australian) which has the preposterous gall to banner itself as ‘The Heart of The Nation’, has sworn to ‘destroy the Greens’, a quaint manifestation of the Right’s love of democracy and respect for the public’s choice in electing eleven (out of 64) Green Senators.
    Unfortunately the trajectory of market capitalist societies faced by ecological ruin, runaway climate disruption, resource depletion and economic collapse, will not, I fear, be towards sanity, decency and co-operation directed at species salvation. It will be towards increasingly authoritarian rule, as the ruling kleptocrats and plutocrats and their political stooges who call all the shots, sacrifice ‘democracy’, such as it is, to their prime task, the maintenance of their and their class’ total social dominance and material wealth. I actually fear that the Egyptians might serve as prototypes of coming repressive measures, as it becomes increasingly plain that Mubarrak ain’t goin’ nowhere. Either the masses will retire, disheartened, beaten down even more by massive police state power, or, if they revolt, massive force will be deployed against them. The Tunisians seem to have lost, the regime remains in place with a new boss, same as the old boss. I think that the age of truly violent, desperate, elite repression of increasingly restless and impoverished populations is dawning.

  50. adelady says:

    All shelters are now closed because they’re full. Looks like the cyclone centre will hit Innisfail – which is no comfort at all to Cairns or Townsville.

    As for Willis Island. The BOM staff evacuated yesterday. The equipment has already been destroyed according to Bligh on radio a little while ago.

  51. Prokaryotes says:

    Catastrophic Damage, Cat 5 … total Destruction – unprecedented
    Cyclone Yasi approaches Queensland
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zZ7F8i_haok&feature=player_embedded#

  52. Prokaryotes says:

    Frightened Australian cyclone evacuees turned away

    Australian police turned people away from jammed evacuation shelters on Wednesday as a huge cyclone neared the northeast coast, leaving many to wait outside in the open, praying police will relent and squeeze them in before the storm arrives.

    Cyclone Yasi is the most dangerous cyclone to come ashore in Australia in a century, forcing tens of thousands of people to evacuate their homes and overwhelm cyclone shelters which are already refuge to more than 10,000.

    At a shopping centre which serves as a shelter in Cairns, a tourist city destined to feel Yasi’s wrath within hours, Selwyn Hughes stood with his family in the uncovered carpark and said his only comfort for the moment was in numbers.

    “There are so many of us here. Surely they have to do something, find somewhere safer to move us to before it arrives,” Hughes said, squatting on a pink suitcase with his five children, aged two to 13.

    The family’s only possessions were a small box of food, including a tin of powdered milk, and clothes and a pram for two-year-old daughter Minoota.
    http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/02/02/australia-cyclone-evacuation-idUSL3E7D205M20110202

  53. Prokaryotes says:

    Twitter
    JOSHBAVAS | 8 mins ago
    Premier says the time to evacuate has now passed. #yasi

  54. Shena says:

    This does not look good for Queensland. Our thoughts are with them.

  55. Prokaryotes says:

    Wow,

    The cyclone is predicted to still have category three intensity 12 hours after it crosses the coast, when it is 450 kilometres inland. http://www.abc.net.au/news/events/cyclone-yasi/

    That is bad, really really bad, and all worse if you imagine that future storms will just become more destructive, with more energy released into the atmosphere, eg heat trapping molecules. People will become very very afraid from climate weirding.

  56. Prokaryotes says:

    Webcams

    townsville
    Webcam of the approaching Cyclone Yasi due to strike north of Townsville in North Queensland, Australia. Webcam is situated in central T1 Apartments in the CBD of Townsville.
    http://www.ustream.tv/channel/caillins13

    Townsville – Tropical Cyclone Yasi

    Total views: 0 Tropical Cyclone Yasi as it approaches Nth QLD. View from West End looking ENE towards Castle Hill.
    http://www.ustream.tv/channel/townsville-yasi

    View from a property at Mourilyan, just south of Innisfail
    http://www.ustream.tv/channel/yasi-east-facing

  57. JohnV says:

    Interesting graphic on the ABC website comparing the size recent Cyclones

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/infographics/cyclone-season-2010-2011/comparison.htm

  58. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    Perusing the local media, listening to radio and TV. One mention of ‘global warming’, but several, in the moronic inferno of The Fundament’s Comments, hissing and spitting and screeching at the ‘warmists’ that there was just such a cyclone in 1899, and that was before the ‘global warming scam’ was even invented. Nothing new then, but….the tone is getting more hysterical, more vituperative. I think that they are worried, because the catastrophes are just piling up. Even worse, they must fear what will come when the public wakes up and starts calling those who delayed action to account. They’re probably projecting their own viciousness onto others, which would give them some cause to be worried.

  59. Prokaryotes says:

    Factbox: Australia’s deadliest & most destructive cyclones

    Feb 2 – Cyclone Yasi, packing winds of up to 300 km (186 miles) per hour, has already written its page in the history of severe storms, even before it hits the Australian coast.

    Heading straight for cities on the northeast coast, it ranks among the most powerful cyclones ever recorded and is thought to be the biggest to head for major Australian population centers.

    Yasi, expected to hit small tourist cities such as Cairns and Townsville later on Wednesday, is a “category 5” cyclone, the highest rating possible and the first such tempest to hit cyclone-prone Queensland coast at this force since 1918.

    Here are a list of other big cyclones to have hit Australia in recorded history, along with a description of the five cyclone categories. http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/02/02/us-australia-cyclone-history-idUSTRE71113C20110202

  60. Rabid Doomsayer says:

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2011/02/02/3128332.htm?section=justin
    Yasi has not even hit land yet and already insurance stocks have been hit.

  61. Raul M. says:

    Locals had 3 days notice? Yow!

  62. It looks like Yasi will be a Cat 5 when it hits landfall around 10pm tonight local time. Current design standards call for design wind forces for a Cat 3 (i.e. just below the Cat 4 value) of wind speed of 66 m/s. There is a 5% increase on this to a design wind speed of 69.3m/s.

    The gust wind speed for a Cat 5 is of the order of 78m/s or greater.

    This is the 10m 3s gust value for open low roughness terrain (Terrain Category 2).

    Design standards call for 95 percentile materials strength values to be used, so there is a fair margin of safety over the actual design criteria. Also, most buildings have additional strength that is not taken into acount in design of the structure.

    This is not to say that the buildings will not fail. Certainly many will. Many will fail due to circumstances, such as flying debris piercing a window or wall, or a building being more exposed than some others. We find that many failures are due to construction details such as poor formation of joints in the roof.

    Tonight will be a rough night in north Queensland. Lets hope they have a bit of luck.

    If we don’t get off the fossil fuel merry-go-round, events like Yasi could become the norm.

  63. david glover says:

    expected to still be cat 3 @ Georgetown 450 KILOMETRES INLAND

  64. david glover says:

    estimated size 700-800 kilometres

    Katrina 650 kilometres

  65. LT says:

    I am extremely frustrated with the head in the sand attitude and downright crazy denial of so many of my compatriots, but on the other hand mighty proud of the terrific emergency effort put in by the Queensland State Disaster Management Service, all levels of government, the military and the thousands of volunteers who have worked tirelessly for weeks to cope with all that the weather has thrown Queensland since Christmas. Our small population spread over such a tremendous area makes coping with and later paying for these disasters particularly difficult. Today more than 250 patients, including adult and neonatal intensive care patients, were airlifted out of Cairns hospitals, which is right on the waterfront. We have certainly seen adversity bring out the very best in this community. Maybe that gives me some hope as I contemplate, with dread, future climate chaos in this land which is already one of extremes.
    http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2011/02/01/3127118.htm?section=justin

  66. Rabid Doomsayer says:

    18 meter wave readings off Townsville are NOT accurate. Waves broke over the buoy and turned it over. Record broken today at 6.5 meters then smashed at 9.5 meters.

  67. Prokaryotes says:

    Chris O’Brian at the Emergency Center just confirmed that the buoy reading very well was caused by turned over conditions.

    Townsville cam with sound … http://www.ustream.tv/channel/cyclone-yasi-townsville

  68. Prokaryotes says:

    It’s quiet odd watching this monster live on cam, knowing it is happening right now. And knowing that this kind of storm could very well hit in other regions too.

  69. Sime says:

    LT go hide and keep yourself and the family safe!

  70. John McCormick says:

    Cardwell got a direct hit from Yasi. It is the Galveston of Australia.

    John McCormick

  71. Prokaryotes says:

    North Queensland town a ‘scene of devastation’

    The north Queensland town of Tully is a scene of mass devastation with roofs torn from houses and power poles knocked over by the powerful category 5 Cyclone Yasi.

    Yasi crossed the North Queensland coast near Mission Beach, north of Tully, at midnight (AEST), bringing with it dangerous storms and battering waves to the south of the massive storm’s centre.

    Cassowary Coast councillor Ross Sorbello said the roof had been torn from his mother’s house in Tully, where he was waiting out the storm, and local properties had suffered similar damage.

    “We are talking about a pretty strong brick house that was built in the 70s, so god help us in the morning when we look at some of the older places,” he said.

    Mr Sorbello ventured outside briefly during the eye of the storm to assess the damage and said the streets were strewn with debris while power poles had been knocked over.

    “It is just a scene of mass devastation,” he said.

    “(Cyclone) Larry was a boy compared to this.” http://www.smh.com.au/environment/weather/north-queensland-town-a-scene-of-devastation-20110201-1acgp.html?from=smh_sb

  72. Prokaryotes says:

    North Queensland residents have been sharing their frightening Yasi stories with ABC Local Radio.

    I think all the roof is gone, it was a brand new roof. I thought it would hold very well. It just sounded like an automatic rifle going bang, bang, bang, bang as it went, like someone fanning out a pack of cards.” – Ray from Bilyana

    I saw a large explosion to the north-east of my window. The light shot probably 150 metres into the air and I saw it crash to the ground with a lot of flickering when it hit.” – Ben from Townsville

    “We could hear it tearing off, we could hear our furniture upstairs sliding across the floor, it’s like a bowling alley. Our neighbours rang us to tell us our roof is hanging off our house.” – Tonya from Ingham

    “We’ve had a massive ironbark go through our window, our garden sheet has been ripped apart. This wind won’t go away and there are metal sheets flying everywhere … it’s getting scary.” – Claire from Townsville http://www.abc.net.au/news/events/cyclone-yasi/

  73. MarkF says:

    someone has to get a private meeting with people like the Koch brothers.

    That group has to be reached somehow.

  74. dbmetzger says:

    Indeed, not a good year for Australia…
    Cyclone Yasi to Hit Australia, with Winds Reaching 300 Km/h
    Strong wind and rain are pounding Northern Queensland as Cyclone Yasi, one of the most powerful tropical storms ever recorded in Australia, closes in on the country’s northeast coast. http://www.newslook.com/videos/287843-cyclone-yasi-to-hit-australia-with-winds-reaching-300-km-h?autoplay=true

  75. momochan says:

    @ 24, JCH:

    Blaming the climatologists for predicting drought over floods is like saying “That idiot doctor told me that I was going to die of lung cancer if I didn’t quit smoking – but here I am having a heart attack! Doctors don’t know nuthin’!”.

    Well… at least they got the direction right, in the sense of good vs. bad.

  76. quokka says:

    According to the morning news, there have been no reports as yet of any deaths or serious injuries. Quite remarkable considering the magnitude of this monster. But also I should think because of good organization and preparation and good building standards in the last few decades and importantly the worst of the storm missed Cairns and Townsville.

  77. Windsong says:

    lINDA, #49, the most valuable assets in times like these is– not only land and good source of water- but, perhaps more importantly, good, loyal friends! Someone to watch your back and you watch theirs. I have none of the above, but IMO, a group of loyal friends will be invaluable in the days ahead! there will be groups who will try to take from others. That’s why you need good people with you.

  78. Windsong says:

    Coming to a town near us– sooner or later.

  79. Leif says:

    It will be very interesting to see what the building codes will look like after this Yasi demonstration.

    The Eaarth’s weather has been flirting with these unusually large weather system for a Couple of years now. “Frankenstorm” from last January and some other similarly cutisy named storms and of course the Russian Heat and Pakistan Floods and…???

    “The times, they are a changing”

  80. I am afraid some of the reports have been a bit overblown. Anemometer readings give a peak gust in the wall as 52m/s. If this turns out to be an accurate measure, Yasi was a cat 3 not 5 cyclone.
    At that speed, most buildings constructed since 1980 will be fine (they are designed for 69m/s in coastal Qld).
    The assessment of cat 3 is born out by visual assessment of radar and satelite images together with a comparison to other anemometer recordings in the region.
    You should know that the Aust TC numbers are not the same as the Saffir system used in the US ( http://www.bom.gov.au/cyclone/about/intensity.shtml).

  81. paulm says:

    Australia is looks like it is being punished by Gaia….

    Flash flooding, storms to lash Victoria
    http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2011/02/03/3129542.htm?section=justin

  82. In support of the assessment of Yasi to be a Cat 3 cyclone, damage is bad but not what would be expected with a Cat 5 (more than 78m/s winds 3 second gust). Forces are proportional to the square of the wind speed, so the forces of a Cat 5 are of the order of 1.5 to 2 times larger. Of course flying debris does a lot of the damage. There is one report of a roof from one building lifting off and embedding vertically into the next house to cut it in two.

    The whole point of the discussion regarding the influence of climate change on this sort of event is that there is no event that does not already show such influence. We can expect more of the most intense events as the climate continues to warm.

  83. JohnV says:

    More rain for Victoria
    http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2011/02/05/3130781.htm

    The South Eastern Suburbs of Melbourne recieved over 150mm of rain last night.

    Where I live we had the following

    Yesterday’s Totals
    5-Feb-2011 9 AM 153.00 mm
    5-Feb-2011 8 AM 150.60 mm
    5-Feb-2011 7 AM 133.00 mm
    5-Feb-2011 6 AM 127.80 mm
    5-Feb-2011 5 AM 119.80 mm
    5-Feb-2011 4 AM 115.80 mm
    5-Feb-2011 3 AM 112.20 mm
    5-Feb-2011 2 AM 112.20 mm
    5-Feb-2011 1 AM 111.60 mm
    5-Feb-2011 Midnight 107.80 mm
    4-Feb-2011 11 PM 103.40 mm
    4-Feb-2011 10 PM 96.00 mm
    4-Feb-2011 9 PM 85.80 mm
    4-Feb-2011 8 PM 44.00 mm
    4-Feb-2011 7 PM 2.60 mm

    this was typical of the South East of Melbourne.

  84. Sou says:

    @Ricki (Australia) – I don’t know where you are getting your information. Yasi was definitely reported as a Cat 5 cyclone by the Bureau of Meteorology and maintained that category when it hit the coast near Mission Beach. It didn’t diminish to a Cat 3 until it was a way inland.

    Wind speeds were estimated as at least 280 km/hour:
    http://www.abc.net.au/rural/news/content/201102/s3128167.htm

    I don’t know if there is a way to measure wind speed when the anemometers are all broken or in places where there are none. If not then we’ll probably never know the actual wind gusts on the edge of the eye.

    (BTW On the BoM weather observations site, when the cyclone was approaching, I read wind gusts of 187 km/hour (52 m/s) recorded at Lucinda, which was south of the eye of the cyclone.)

  85. Sou,

    My information comes from within the expert wind engineering community here in Australia from the most impecible sources. The 3s gust you noted, 52 m/s is the one I referred to as indicating a Cat 3 and from the anemometer record of Willis Is. it comes from the wall of the eye.

    Central pressure has been estimated by the same sources as around 930 mBar (hPa). Statements by the BOM have been known to be exagerated in the past and the media also do not help in their statements. The BOM of course have to state what the storm MAY be when it hits the coast so that people take it seriously.

    Many who have sat through a Cat 3 have been on the edges and not near the eye so that they get a false impression of the strength of a Cat 3. Such people then cannot understand the need evacuate or take other precautions when a cyclone threatens. This is the reason some of the media statements become exagerated, to get people moving and making preparations before the cyclone hits.

    (The link in my previous comment was broken, try… http://www.bom.gov.au/cyclone/about/intensity.shtml ).