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130 responses to “Yasi – it’s big, bad, ugly and coming our way”

  1. joe2

    The eye is now right on @Willis Island. There are 2 or 3 BOM staff there.


  2. joe2

    Just heard the staff were evacuated from Willis Island, yesterday, and it is currently self running.

  3. Jess

    Shit, check the radar images around Willis Is.

    Makes me glad to be in Canberra, where all we have to put up with is some drizzle this morning (I assume it’s the leftovers from Anthony?). Hope everyone up north stays safe.

  4. Jacques Chester

    Bugger, category 5. That’s really scary.

  5. akn

    That is a monster. Best wishes to all in the area.

  6. Guido

    Floods, cyclones and bushfires. Australian summers can be cruel.

  7. wilful

    I’m impressed that the radar still functions.

  8. Fine

    Good luck to all the northern Queenslanders. This one is really scary, so try to stay safe.

  9. Paul Burns

    Good luck to you all up there and stay as safe as you can. Its an understatement to say its a scary place to be at the moment.

  10. Katz

    Be strong, FNQ.

    Looking forward to some good news from Ootz.

  11. jules

    Yeah good luck and stay safe if you’re in FNQ.

  12. Katz

    Melbourne radio reports that Willis Is is off the air.

  13. Roger Jones

    Willis Island radar is toast – it’s dropped out in the past hour.

  14. Roger Jones

    Eeesh, sorry. Hadn’t seen Katz’ post

  15. SCPritch

    Someone has put together a longer time-frame vid showing the origin and development of Yasi, with radar/rainfall super-imposed as it moves within range. You can also see Bianca at the very start of the vid off WA, and Anthony hitting QLD just before Yasi comes together:


    Its quite startling.

  16. Jess

    Observations from Willis are still coming in, just seems like the radar is out. Eye pressure at 938.0 hPa so pretty low.

    The maximum wind gust I can see is 185 km/hr, but I’m not sure whether the anemometer would be able to take much more than that so there might be some measurement saturation there.

  17. Fine

    ‘Bush Telegraph’ on Radio National has an interesting show about it on now.

  18. Fiona

    Thank you for the heads up, Fine.

  19. su

    This is so worrying. I was a child when Althea hit but that was a baby compared to Yasi. I often check a weathercam in my old home town. I just hope that as many people as possible leave the coastal areas.

  20. Merv & Joan

    Thinking about you all in Northern Queensland, even though we live in Northern Ireland at the other side of the world. We have been in the Cairns area seveal times and love it. We did live in Oz years ago and know that the people will support each other.
    You are all in our prayers
    Merv & Joan

  21. Lefty E
  22. tamara

    Hi all, have just spoken to family in Cairns and they’re waiting…rain and squalls so far, but they’re hyper aware it’s coming. That weatherchaser vid was amazing, but totally terrifying too.
    Stay safe FNQ!

  23. John D

    Just hope the evacuations are based on a high estimate of possible storm surge.

  24. thefrollickingmole

    Good luck.

  25. j_p_z

    All good luck to those riding this out. Stay safe.

  26. Down and Out of Sài Gòn

    It’s so horrible. Everybody – good luck and stay safe.

  27. Down and Out of Sài Gòn

    Be safe, everybody.

  28. Sam

    700 ml of rain? Faark.

    Hang in there.

  29. Casey

    Good luck folks. Be safe Ootz.

  30. dylwah

    Geeeezz, good luck, if you are up there

  31. Debbieanne

    Best wishes to all in N/Qld.

  32. myriad74

    Good luck, stay safe.

  33. Doug

    Radar from Townsville and Cairns shows the rain sweeping through – best wishes to everyone. the rest of Australia is paying attention to what is happening.

  34. wilful
  35. tssk

    Good luck all. This is going to be a rough ride for you guys.

  36. Casey

    Rob Blackley, the former Palm Island Mayor is reporting on 7 that the community there was not offered evacuation when the surrounding resort islands were. 70% of housing on Palm Island structurally unsound according to a recent report, he is saying. The evacuation centre is very close to shore so he is reporting that he would not go there. He says it’s the same old story regarding Aboriginal people. I fear for the people there. It’s a low lying area.

  37. dj

    Nope, doesn’t look good at all. Good luck to anyone reading who is in the path of it.

  38. Roger Jones

    Casey @40,

    that’s bloody outrageous.

  39. wilful

    …if proved.

  40. desipis

    A report on the Palm Island situation from a nurse working on the island.

  41. Darryl Rosin
  42. akn

    Oh shit oh dear waddaya mean they didn’t evacuate Palm?

  43. adrian

    If that is true it simply beggars belief.

  44. Casey
  45. su

    Yeah it is not like Magnetic, further south where there is plenty of higher ground and leeward slopes to provide some kind of protection from surge and winds.

  46. Geoff Honnor
  47. tssk

    Holy shit. How could they not evacuate Palm Island?

  48. Wantok

    Yungaburra, Atherton Tableland: 5pm – wind gusts building in strength and sounds of tree branches cracking: power still on at this stage but expect to lose overnight.Everything tied down, buckets of water at strategic points,chainsaw serviced and ready to go, torches & candles at the ready………….have I forgotten anything, oh yes g&t with freshly picked sliced limes, aaaah !


  49. Lefty E

    I’m pretty disturbed to hear Yasi is bigger than cyclone Tracey in 1974.
    And bloody hell, that doesn’t sound good re Palm island.

  50. Geoff Honnor

    “Holy shit. How could they not evacuate Palm Island?’

    I’m assuming it’s because PI is off Townsville at the edge of the highest risk zone. It’s inside the reef and offers people higher ground to move to in the event of a major storm surge. Presumably risk assessment puts it outside evacuation parameters. But – I don’t know.

  51. CRAIGY

    Our worst cyclone 1899


    So far

  52. Casey
  53. Down and Out of Sài Gòn

    So Palm Island’s going to be our Katrina moment?

  54. Tia

    @47 That article has now been changed to “Palm Island ready for Yasi, mayor says”


    “We’ve been planning for these events of many years,” Mr Lacey, who is also chairman of the Local Disaster Management Group, said.

    “We planned before Cyclone Anthony (which crossed into north Queensland on January 30) when it was predicted.

    “Palm certainly is in safe hands and everything is in order,” Mr Lacey told AAP.

    “Evacuation centres are open if people are not feeling safe at home.

    “I certainly don’t need panic buttons being pushed because it will just turn that situation into a more worser situation than what it is.

    “Giving those wrong messages out to the wider public is probably not useful when you’re trying to unite the community around an event like this.”

  55. Tia

    Sorry, should be @49.

  56. Darryl Rosin

    “I’m pretty disturbed to hear Yasi is bigger than cyclone Tracey in 1974.”

    Interesting fact: Tracey was the *smallest* hurricane or tropical cyclone ever recorded until 2008, with gale force winds extending only 50km from the eye. Darwin was really in the wrong place at the wrong time.

    The most *intense* cyclone ever recorded was Olivia, which hit Australia in 1996.


  57. CRAIGY

    Darryl [email protected]
    How was Olivia more *intense* than Mahina?

  58. Lefty E

    Darryl – that makes me even more disturbed! Yasi is covering an area almost as large as the USA.

  59. sublime cowgirl

    The CIA are behind Yasi you realise….they have sent this to smash Magnetic Island as a warning to Julian Assange. ( Its his home town, of course.)

  60. CMMC

    Good to see that Business Spectator lists this story in the Climate Change category.

    SOI Index is crazy bad this year.

  61. sublime cowgirl
  62. Kevin Rennie

    I’m blogging from WA, for Th!nk5: Water.

    Cyclone Yasi Terror: Not Crying Wolf

    Please join us.

  63. Sam

    Is is too soon to mention the coal industry?

  64. jane

    Keep safe everyone in FNQ. I sincerely hope Yasi turns out to be a fizzer.

  65. CRAIGY

    Good one sam
    Bob and Christine may have a press release any minute.

  66. Darryl Rosin

    Craigy @60: “How was Olivia more *intense* than Mahina?”

    You could measure wind gusts, sustained wind speed, Atmospheric pressure. Based on gusts, the World Meteorogical Organisation says:

    “Geneva, 22 January 2010 (WMO) – According to a recent review conducted by a panel of experts in charge of global weather and climate extremes within the WMO Commission for Climatology (CCl) the record of wind gusts not related to tornados registered to date is 408 km/h during Tropical Cyclone Olivia on 10 April 1996 at Barrow Island, Australia. The previous record was of 372 km/h, registered in April 1934 across the summit of Mount Washington, USA.”


  67. Mystified

    The ‘Iffrit’ or genie is out of the bottle or copper sealed jar. Don’t tell anyone! Genie or Jin as the Qu’ran calls them ‘the fire of a scorching wind’ is amongst us if you look up at the sky anywhere in Australia or the world. The Genie take the form of bellowing clouds as well as scorching fiery wind. We need to be careful what we wish for at this time. We may only have three wishes.. ..
    We ‘may prevail’ in this battle but its a war, like that in Afghanistan, we should not be fighting against nature. Its a matter of reciprocity. We consume all that dirty energy, it does not disappear; Nature gives it back to us but in forms that escalate and kill.

  68. CRAIGY

    [email protected]
    Olivia sustained wind speed 195 kph
    Mahina sustained wind speed 280 kph.

    As for wind gust, It took from 10 april 1996 to 26 jan 2010 to confirm by WMO .

    Mahina 914(hPa).Olivia 925(hPa)

    Mahina surge 48 feet. Olivia surge 6.6 feet

    Good try mate.

  69. steve
  70. CRAIGY

    Wrong thread steve.

    Another good try

  71. Blair

    @72 – the measured wind gust in Olivia appears to have been in a tornado or similar feature embedded in the eyewall (which made a direct hit on an instrument which lived to tell the tale). It’s not indicative of the general wind speed of Olivia (which was ‘only’ a category 4).

    ‘Strongest ever’ is difficult to quantify because so few cyclones have their maximum intensity instrumentally measured (although since the 1980s we have pretty consistent satellite data). Mahina is almost certainly the strongest ever observed in Queensland but it’s unclear how it would rank against the most intense cyclones elsewhere (such as Monica in the NT in 2006). The northwest WA coast would experience something of Yasi’s intensity (if not necessarily its size) a couple of times a decade on average.

    (Disclosure: I was one of the ‘panel of experts’ for the Olivia report, although others contributed much more expertise to it than I did).

  72. steve

    Latest Cairns weather details. The barometer is interesting.

  73. joe2
  74. CRAIGY

    too right Blair
    Monica was truly one of the worst.
    It just peeves me when people disregard events that happened, because it doesn’t suite the “worst ever, never before, unequaled in history” story.

  75. steve

    Here is the 10.00pm advice number 22.


  76. steve

    In her last press conference for the night, Anna Bligh had to straighten out reports of 18 meter waves off Cleveland Point near Townsville. Turns out it was a false reading from waves crashing over the bouys that are used to take the readings.

  77. Darryl Rosin

    Thanks Blair!


  78. Mystified

    Right thread, Steve @73. The many toxins are exposed but not yet flushed out.
    A catagorisation of demons is one of the first legacies of ancient Mesopotamian culture ever recorded in writing…

  79. steve
  80. Ootz

    Amazing I still got power. The wind is not too strong yet expect it to go up soon, trees are already bending. Since we wont cop the eye we stay in the house and totally barricaded ourselves in. Dog tired, worked two days straight until now. Laid in bed for three hours last night and could not sleep. Incredible lightning show was on, which was associated with the approaching cyclone.

    Have a bit of a rest now and wait for the worst to come.

  81. steve
  82. terangeree

    Windspeeds, &c. for Lucinda.

  83. steve

    Here’s the Cairns radar showing the eye swirling around Dunk Island.


  84. Enemy Combatant

    Great to see you’re so well prepared, Ootz, all hunkered- down and ready for another spectacular performance from Yasi tonight. Best of luck to you, folks and garden.

  85. Steve at the Pub

    If every anyone was to pray, pray for Georgetown. Tomorrow’s forecast has the cyclone striking it as a Cat 3.

  86. steve

    Yasi has now been downgraded to a Category 3 but is still regarded as dangerous and destructive. It is currently 130 km west of Cardwell.

  87. steve

    Tully where the eye passed sees to have taken a destructive hit.


  88. Helen

    How are you, Ootz?

  89. Fine

    It seems like no-one has died, or been badly injured, for which we can be grateful.

  90. akn

    Any news from Palm?

  91. joe2

    Hooray for Ootz, wife and chooks!

  92. Debbieanne

    Just heard Karl on Today talking to the Mayor of Palm Island. He particularly debunked reports mentioned above. Most/all residental structures cat5. Everyone ok.
    Glad ootz and family alright.

  93. su

    Glad Ootz and co. fared well. Bligh saying that powerlines down and some roofs off on Palm but no significant structural damage and water supply is secure. Emergency services have just cut through to Cardwell. Older houses there have been destroyed.

    There are smaller islands in the region that have not yet made contact.

  94. Katz

    Onya Ootz.

  95. tigtog

    Much relieved to hear that Ootz is OK. Hope Steve and his pub fare as well! At least it’s a category 2 now rather than a category 3.

  96. Pavlov's Cat

    Yep, yay for Ootz and Ms Ootz and the chooks. Excellent.

  97. Scott

    So relieved that no one appears to be hurt (so far). Thank goodness for the internet and ABC 24 taking off their stupid geo-block, was able to watch the news this morning from chilly Canada.

  98. Lefty E

    is relieved to hear -so far – no deaths or serious injuries in FNQ. That’s surely down to good preparation by government and citizens, solid infrastructure and improved building codes.

  99. Paul Burns
  100. joe2

    Thankyou, Brian, you have done a fantastic job of keeping us all informed. Some other great links on this thread, as well.
    Thanks, folks.

  101. dk.au

    is relieved to hear -so far – no deaths or serious injuries in FNQ. That’s surely down to good preparation by government and citizens, solid infrastructure and improved building codes

    Yeah apparently a lot was learned from Tracy and strict codes implemented to prevent deaths

  102. Fran Barlow

    Sidebar on Yasi

    There has been a bit of banter about babies born in the cyclone. Apparently one of them was delivered in an evacuation centre at Redlynch State College by some holidaying nurse from Hemel Hempstead in the UK.

    For ten points, can anyone guess what shamefully wasteful federal program funded that that new school sports hall? Let’s see the first Liberal who notes that fact.

    Apparently Innisfail State High School (with a Category-5- rated School Hall also sheltered two mothers who went into labour (there’s a pun there surely) before being transferred to Innisfail Hospital to give birth.

  103. Ootz

    Thanks all for your thoughts and best wishes.

    Brian, I recon you are spot on with your assessment @100 and 104, those extra 50 km south made a hell of a difference for us and yes Cairns did dodge a bullet. My sympathy goes to the people on the Cassowary Coast and Hinterland.

    There are already the first murmurings that authorities have over reacted with evacuation and warnings up this way. In my opinion BoM and all the relevant Authorities deserve a medal, for AFAIK no life has been lost yet.

    Would be interesting to know how the pub at Georgetown fared, it does not often get visited by a cat 3.

  104. jules

    Ootz glad to hear you’re ok, everyone who got hit (tho you probably can’t read this now) heads up and hang in there.

  105. Ootz

    We never really lost power, a few brown outs yes. However, the internet got fluky, even this morning.

    No worries Brian, as it was, for various reasons, my wife had to type the message for me. We sent the same to all our friends and relies here and overseas. We were inundated with concerned phone calls, SMSs and emails after the floods in SEQ even though we were not affected at all. So I made a contact group on my mobile that I can use for such occasions. Very effective way of letting everyone concerned know what the situation is.

    No chance for remnant Yasi to wet SEQ, more like South Australia.

    The ‘go hard, go early’ strategy is effective but has a major drawback in that, people which did get warned of a massive impact or got evacuated and then experience minimal impact, as it happened in Cairns and up in the Tablelands this time, get very cynical or blase about such warnings in future. This is a well know phenomena and makes it extremely difficult for authorities to call the shots. With Yasi we knew for days that it was going to be an extremely large and intensive system. However, even though we have nowadays an amazing array of gadgetry (just checkout the Yasi Tech thread on WeatherZone) very experienced professionals to monitor these systems there is still a large element of unpredictable wobble involved. Just watch a spinning top, they can appear to spin quite stable, then do a large wobble and stabilise again. Such is the non linear nature of cyclones. Further, large systems, such as Yasi, can contain odd features such as tornadoes within them selves which can leave tracks of utter destruction on top of the ‘normal’ wind damage. Other contributing phenomenon such as eye wall replacement can have influence on damage at impact. As well as topography, on large and small scale can make a incredible difference in destruction. There is this picture taken after Cyclone Larry of a shed totally blown apart and roofless yet there is in the middle of it intact shelving with a bottle of beer on top of it, which apparently was not a prank. While clearing fallen trees, I have seen swaths of maybe 50m wide terrain where trees were lying in the opposite direction to all the other ones or not damaged at all. Valleys can be sheltered or funnels depending of situation. How does one make credible predictions with such chaotic behaving systems. Which brings me to an apology I have to make in relation to an earlier comment I made, in relation to the potential destructive force of Yasi. When I wrote of a 400km wide total destruction zone, I meant to say potential, as in between Cairns and Townsville. How wide and how deep inland the actual destruction zone is going to be is for the above reasons very hard to determine. So it is best to be prepared for the worst and hope for the best.

  106. joe2

    “No chance for remnant Yasi to wet SEQ, more like South Australia.”

    Yes Ootz and most of Victoria is about to get a belting, as well. It’s a mighty and scary looking front approaching.

  107. Ootz

    Talking about the big bad and ugly, they arrested six people for looting in Townsville. Also their two Botanical Gardens utterly destroyed 75% of their trees gone. I helped cleaning up the Cairns Flecker Botanical Gardens twice after a cyclone and I don’t want to even imagine that scale of destruction.

    A cousin of mine in Switzerland which has backpacked through Oz made me aware of the utter destruction of an Aussie icon on the Far North Tropical Coast where all the buses stop and every one has his/her first taste of local Barramundi. Have a look at this Picture with Anna Bligh and Wain, indescribable scene change. These beautiful leafed Calophyllum inophyllum striped naked and just a skeleton of their former self, road and pavers just ripped, the beach strewn to the back blocks.

    Had a talk to few oldtimers in Cairns, as with Larry, it was very patchy which suburbs coped it. One mate recons it was worse than Larry, more vegetation damage. I was suprised because up in the lower Tablelands it was mild. However, Townsville by all accounts coped a fair whack. Which is interesting, because upto one day or so before crossing the BoM on their cyclone tracking map featured Yasi as a funny shaped circle. It appeared from it, that the north west quadrant of yasi was significantly less strong. Shortly before landing though it went back to feature a full circle.

  108. Paul Burns

    Oh, those poor people.Unbelieveable.Just unbelieveable.

  109. sublime cowgirl

    Glad you are OK Ootz!

  110. Ootz

    Nevermind me sublime, what about SATP and his pub. We have not heard of him yet, spose no communication. I bet though he still has some coldies!

  111. joe2

    Yer, SATP, where are ye?

    Mildura had 150mm with more to come. Catchments in Vic will be groaning and some poor bastards will be flooded out for the third time.