If you are watching any edition of Aussie news at the moment, it would not have escaped your notice that Queensland and the “Territory” are experiencing the effects of a tropical cyclone of monster proportions.
Most of us had to wait for the Weather bureau’s radar to tell us a cyclone was bearing down on us, and exactly where it would hit, but for some, their own version of the news bulletins have been screaming warning messages for weeks. So who are these intuitive, all – knowing metereologists? Animals, and nature, of course.
For weeks, the turtles have been emerging from the creek beds and creeks, plodding ever so slowly, (well, they do have to start early, don’t they?!) on their way to higher ground.
The Cockatoos, those screeching white birds with the sulphur crest, clearly possess a sixth sense, that we humans, missed out on as they have been flying inland in flocks during the last week or so. (When there is drought, they immigrate to the cities in search of food and water). If a lot of rain is expected, they will head inland to feed on the drier grassy areas, as they are doing now.
I even heard the Kookaburras laughing their ‘heads’ off, all last week, a sure sign of the onset of rain.
And the Ants, well there are ants everywhere, and I mean everywhere they are not supposed to be, like in your kitchen cupboards, in your laundry, and even in your bed!! Someone should tell them that there are higher places to hibernate than in my low set, one-level house!
And these creatures are always correct, which is more than I can say for the Weather forecasters!! Funny to think that an animal such as a turtle, or ant could replace a tertiary-educated professional or the highly sophisticated computer software!!!
Even non-living things seem to have an edge on what the weather will do: if you cast your eye upwards and see cloud formations that look like a mare’s tail, or sheep’s wool, you can bet your bottom dollar, there will be rain within three days. Guaranteed!! The mare’s tail clouds are particularly accurate, unless you live in the tropical areas, which has a unique weather pattern all of its own.
In any case, the rain arrived yesterday, and continued all through today, unrelenting for hours and hours. There were no less than five ( clearly a bit below par as far as animal intuition goes), toads, swimming in my backyard swimming pool this afternoon. Stupid, poisonous creatures, that obviously don’t have the intelligence or intuition of the turtle! (Although the toad is an introduced pest, so perhaps I’ll excuse them for this).
So what are we doing? We batten down the hatches and await the arrival of Tropical Cyclone Marcia (anyone who has ever watched the Brady Bunch TV show is now chanting Marsha, Marsha, Marsha), and the joke is tired already!! The cyclone made landfall at Yeppoon this morning as a Category 5 – with 260 km/hr winds. It sounded like a freight train passing over, and there is much structural damage like you see in this video.
Tropical Cyclones are severe weather systems that strike the Australian coast during the summer months. They usually consist of a central eye, in which the wind is fairly mild; there may be no or little cloud, or perhaps even sunshine. This is surrounded by a rapidly rotating low pressure storm system which produces enormous amounts of rain and wind. The systems spin clockwise, in the southern hemisphere, and counter – clockwise in the northern hemisphere.
Residents in affected areas need to stock up on candles, matches, a generator perhaps, batteries, battery operated radio, torch, non-perishable food supplies, and tape up their glass windows, as well as remove any debris in their yard that could be flung about causing damage in high winds. STAY indoors, in the strongest part of their house, perhaps under a table or in the bathroom with mattresses and blankets for protection, should the roof be blown away. Most houses built since the devastation of Cyclone Tracy, (which flattened an entire city on Christmas day 1976), are built to cyclone proof standards, but in a Category 5 cyclone, Queenslanders have had to hold and barricade doors and windows on near new homes to prevent them from blowing in!
Here is some basic information on Cyclones from Wiki:
Tropical cyclones typically form over large bodies of relatively warm water. They derive their energy through the evaporation of water from the ocean surface, which ultimately recondenses into clouds and rain when moist air rises and cools to saturation. The strong rotating winds of a tropical cyclone are a result of the conservation of angular momentum imparted by the Earth’s rotation as air flows inwards toward the axis of rotation. As a result, they rarely form within 5° of the equator. Tropical cyclones are typically between 100 and 4,000 km (62 and 2,485 mi) in diameter.
At the center of a mature tropical cyclone, air sinks rather than rises. For a sufficiently strong storm, air may sink over a layer deep enough to suppress cloud formation, thereby creating a clear “eye“. Weather in the eye is normally calm and free of clouds, although the sea may be extremely violent. The eye is normally circular in shape, and is typically 30–65 km (19–40 mi) in diameter, though eyes as small as 3 km (1.9 mi) and as large as 370 km (230 mi) have been observed.
[Marcia’s eye was 70 km wide]
The cloudy outer edge of the eye is called the “eyewall“. The eyewall typically expands outward with height, resembling an arena football stadium; this phenomenon is sometimes referred to as the stadium effect. The eyewall is where the greatest wind speeds are found, air rises most rapidly, clouds reach to their highest altitude, and precipitation is the heaviest. The heaviest wind damage occurs where a tropical cyclone’s eyewall passes over land.
I hope I don’t have to Ponder this subject again