Update from the Zone

The Cyclone Zone, that is.

We’re not bang in the middle of it, but those who are have better things to do than report, so for those who are interested, here’s the latest.

Yup. We’re still waiting for Miss Debbie to get her lardy great arse in gear and actually go somewhere. Sorry, do I sound annoyed? That’s because I am. With apologies to Bob Marley “the waiting here is not fine”, because the longer she lurks out there at sea, the bigger and uglier and stronger she gets.

The darker orange area is for strong destructive winds and gales, which we can expect by tomorrow morning. The lighter orange is a watch zone for gales within 48 hours. The category symbol in the storm centre is in blue for actual and light black for forecast, bold black for historic.

If you like maps and charts and tracking stuff, which I do, there’s a heap of information out there. The Bureau of Meteorology is putting out 3-hourly updates, and I’m keeping a close eye on the Higgins Storm Chasing bulletins and the links they give for other sites. This one‘s my favourite – ooh, colours and swirly!

To all those who’ve sent good wishes and crossed fingers, a big thank you. Quite apart from everything else, responding and commenting back has kept my mind off the impending weather πŸ™‚


She’s turning south. The question is whether she’ll hit the coast before she hits us…

For those who don’t live in a cyclone zone, it’s hard to imagine what it means. Here’s a YouTube clip from Cyclone Marcia in 2015, the one that missed us by turning south towards Rockhampton when she was only 150km offshore. That’s a Category 3 you’re looking at. We have a Category 4 heading our way.

I’ll keep posting updates as long as we have power. And once it’s over I’ll let you know we’re clear πŸ™‚


98 thoughts on “Update from the Zone

  1. Anlina Jones says:

    Yes I can’t say I envy you. Stay safe and do whatever they are recommending. I have been watching from Melbourne, we always hope it won’t be as bad as they predict!

  2. ordinarygood says:

    It has just reappeared as an update on a news site here. Stay safe and fingers crossed for you all really. We may get the dregs of Debs here in NZ as these things seem to drift our way at times. We certainly are feeling a humid warmth at the moment so something is flowing from the north. Ahhh weather..

    • katechiconi says:

      I do feel for the people in the danger zone, many of whom have been evacuated already, and are existing in shelters without news of their homes… At least we get to sleep in our own bed, even if I’m impatient for a resolution!

      • ordinarygood says:

        Yes that would be ghastly. Not knowing what is happening or will happen with your home is evidently the most stressful experience. I heard a boffin speaking about this recently in terms of the earthquake damage we have sustained here in NZ. Nature really rules our wellbeing in so many ways. I’ll keep watching out for your posts.

      • katechiconi says:

        Solid ground and a dry, safe home are so important to our peace of mind and security, but are not to be taken for granted, are they? North Queenslanders are used to the idea of cyclones, and are stoic in the face of loss, damage and tragedy, but the human cost is very high.

  3. I have no experience with cyclones myself, living in a tornado-prone area, so I don’t know what cyclone preparation entails. I may be wrong but I comfort myself with the knowledge that you do have plenty of quilts if that sort of thing is handy. Here, hiding under a quilt under a mattress under the basement steps would indeed be handy.

    • katechiconi says:

      Located where we are, on the coast and near the sea, my main concern is the storm surge, a large dome of sea water that the cyclone drags in with it and dumps on shore. That, coupled with our current seasonal high tides means we’re at risk of flooding from the sea as well as the torrential rain. Hiding in a basement, if we had one, would probably not be the best idea.
      We’ll hang out in the house on the leeward side and keep an eye on the doors and windows on the windward side! On the upside, we’re not currently in the path of the eye, so we’ll avoid the worst of the winds…

  4. nettyg says:

    Watching the pretty swirly coloured maps and waiting with you. A lot of that wetness is forecast to be dumped down here later in the week, nothing like what NQers will experience of course, but with a river at my back door I’m preparing and waiting too.

    • katechiconi says:

      There’s a lot of fine, heavy rain falling now, but it’s not flood proportions yet. Strong wind, lots of flying palm fronds, and drumming my fingers impatiently to see if she’s going to turn further south… Fingers crossed you’ll stay safe and dry when the dirty weather reaches you.

      • I just got home and I’ve been watching the map too. Queensland was 7 minutes into our national news stores. Thinking of you, Kate.

      • katechiconi says:

        We’re still here πŸ™‚ She’s taking her own good time about arriving, and she’s brought down half a tree in the back yard but otherwise we’re OK. That may change in a few hours when the leading edge arrives, but we’ll take things as they come.

      • I’m glad the tree didn’t fall on your house, Kate. What time is is there for you? Here is it 5:00 pm on March 27th.

      • katechiconi says:

        It’s 10am on March 28th, and she’s two hours away. The eye is approaching the coast, and it’s 50km (about 30 miles) across, if that gives you an idea of the scale… The people in her path are currently getting winds of 232kmph or 145mph. Roofs will be flying, trees uprooted. LOTS of damage.

      • Kate, I hope all those people in the eye of the storm have safely evacuated. What a nightmare. 50km across! I’m going to keep checking in.

      • katechiconi says:

        Bowen’s a small city. I doubt everyone *could* be evacuated to safety even if they’d go… But Queenslanders are all pretty well educated and informed on how to survive a cyclone, so I don’t expect news of any fatalities except by acts of God. I’ll be updating the latest post at around midday.

      • Thank you for letting me know, Kate.

  5. kathyreeves says:

    Glad to hear you are still at home, and the the worst will pass you by. Still, looks like a pretty long 24 hours or so for lots of folks! What are gale force winds in Australia? Here, we don’t get worried unless they go to 60-70 miles per hour, but I’ve gotten the impression that things are worse at lesser speeds with the addition of water. Is that true for you?

    • katechiconi says:

      You’re looking at 260kmph in the eye, which is equivalent to 160mph. We’re in the gale zone, and can look forward to wind speeds of about 60-70mph. The cyclone will also be carrying a heavy load of moisture, which as you say, makes things worse. To top it off, the humidity is huge because the temperature is currently sitting at 86Β°F… We’re not quite out of the woods yet, she still has time to turn and come south towards us.

  6. manicmumdays says:

    She’s tracking a little further south now Kate, keep safe mate ❀

    • katechiconi says:

      Yup, I see that. If she’ll just hustle her bustle a bit, she’ll make landfall before she gets here… Too much to hope for, I suspect. How are you guys doing up there?

      • manicmumdays says:

        Getting slightly windy and cloudy. But that’s all. Typical north side of the storm … Hope we get a little rain at least

      • katechiconi says:

        The leading edge just hit us as we were finishing off the front windows. The air’s white with wind and rain. It’s very fine right now, so the noise on the roof isn’t too deafening yet. From what I can see, there’s plenty for all, so I’m crossing my fingers the Dam fills nicely.

  7. magpiesue says:

    eek! Just now coming up for air, so to speak. I had no idea this was happening. Obviously I’ll be hoping for the best for you and everyone in your vicinity. ❀

  8. nettyg says:

    Just saw video of Mackay on Higgins…..those palm trees sure are a-swayin’. Must be good in an odd sort of way to have something happening … not too much though.

    • katechiconi says:

      The wind has gusted up to 56kph, but most of the time it’s lower, around 30 or so. No stripped trees, and nothing blown away yet. Also, the rain’s fine but dense, so it’s not deafening.

  9. glamjam1 says:

    Thinking of you and keeping an eye on the news xxx

    • katechiconi says:

      Thank you, my lovely! The waiting is truly the worst part. The rain has stopped briefly, but the winds are gusting up to 50mph and the pressure is dropping like a stone. She’ll be here in about 12-14 hours….

      • katechiconi says:

        You said it… We bunkered down at midday yesterday, it’ll take till midday today to arrive, and then there’ll be the waiting till it’s fully past. And then… clean up.

      • It’s sooooooo slow. And I see that makes it even worse. We’ve had a few destructive (what we call) hurricanes here in the states, but never in California. They wreak havoc.

      • katechiconi says:

        A big part of the problems that cyclones bring is the storm surge, so not only do you get the damaging wind and the rain, you also get maritime flooding in low lying areas.

      • The whole destructive package, so to speak! Eee-gads!

      • katechiconi says:

        Once she’s over land, it’ll all slow right down and be much calmer, but she’s so big that it’ll take a while, so some inland communities are going to get a taste of what the coast get to ‘enjoy’…

      • I’m amazed that your power is still on. That’s a testament to the powers that be

      • katechiconi says:

        Or the robustness of the system, which faces this sort of thing on a regular basis. The energy company has brought 800 personnel and their equipment up by road from Brisbane on Sunday ready to deal with power lines down and outages. The SES (State Emergency Service, all volunteers) are on standby to get fallen trees off houses and out of roads. The army is stationed here on standby to render aid. 25,000 people received SMS messages to update on their flood status. And people are just staying home and waiting, instead of wandering about sightseeing and getting into trouble.

      • That is all very good news, Kate. I’m so impressed with these preparations. We could take a page from your book.

      • katechiconi says:

        Practice makes perfect πŸ™‚

  10. tialys says:

    I’m a bit late to Debbie’s party – I hope, by now, she’s tired out from all the excitement and fallen asleep somewhere leaving you unscathed.

    • katechiconi says:

      Nope, she’s going for a late entrance in full warpaint. Tomorrow morning, some time between 4am and 8am, she should hit the coast as a category 4 (very destructive), and regrettably, it looks as if she’ll be dropping in on us, or at least, some of the small communities north of Mackay. Some people just don’t know when they’re de trop….

  11. tialys says:

    There’s always one at every party! I’ll re-cross everything then and hope she doesn’t make too much of a dramatic entrance. Bon courage!

  12. Thimberlina says:

    Oh no! Hope you’re all safe, everything’s still crossed over hear for you. Xx

    • katechiconi says:

      We’re flat out in her path, there’s no getting away from it. We’ve done what we can. Now, don’t forget to uncross those fingers sometimes, I don’t want to be responsible for a nasty case of Crossed-Finger Gangrene! πŸ™‚

      • Thimberlina says:

        I will, and I’m going to an exercise class soon and I don’t want to but dropping the weights on my toes!!
        It sounds like something out of the wizard of oz over your way. I hope the damage isn’t too severe and you’re soon back to norma.

      • katechiconi says:

        Normal would be too big an ask… at least, compared with other people πŸ˜‰ I wish the bloody thing wasn’t arriving in the small hours of tomorrow morning, though.

  13. nettyg says:

    Saw a call for evacuating parts of Mackay…..is that you??

    • katechiconi says:

      Not yet. We are safe unless the storm surge is over 5 metres above king tide level. They’re evacuating the really low lying areas now. One of John’s sisters lives above all the storm surge flooding areas, so she’s our last resort bolt hole. The council has been sending out evacuation notices by SMS, so we’ll know when it’s time to go.

      • nettyg says:

        Yeh, just saw that about the sms’s. good you have a bolt hole. It’s scary and I’m not even there!!

      • katechiconi says:

        You’re living in the wrong state if you want to chase cyclones πŸ™‚ She’s holding on course just now. I’m wondering if there’ll be more SMS updates or messages while I’m in bed, when I normally have the sound off. Hopefully not.

  14. Marcia looked like she meant business. Stay safe 😦 😦

    • katechiconi says:

      She did a lot of damage, but I think Debbie is going to have an even bigger tanty. Parts of the city are being evacuated because there’ll be a big storm surge out at sea which will cause widespread flooding.

  15. Oh Kate, thinking of you and all up there.

    • katechiconi says:

      It’s getting a bit, um, exciting… I’m very lucky not to be in the flood zone, or I’d be sleeping on the floor of a cyclone shelter tonight. TC Debbie is bringing a big storm surge and many low lying areas are going under. They’re going to try and evacuate 25,000 people…

      • I just watched the news and good grief, she is a slow moving beast. I guess the upside to that is preparation time for everyone but the downside is the agonising wait.

      • katechiconi says:

        She’s big *because* she’s so slow. The little ones come dancing in, make a mess and are gone. She’s taking her time, gathering power and is going to chuck her big fat weight around when she gets here.

  16. kymlucas says:

    Thinking of you and all those in her path.

    • katechiconi says:

      I’m crossing my fingers for Bowen to the north of us, which looks like it’s going to catch the brunt of it. They haven’t had a cyclone land there since 1959, and lots of the houses are old and not up to modern cyclone code. I fear the town is going to be flattened. We’ll get damage, severe winds and flooding, but I don’t think it’ll be as bad.

      • kymlucas says:

        We just get tornadoes here – less predictable but also usually smaller so affecting fewer people. Crossing fingers it turns out to sea.

      • katechiconi says:

        Sadly she’s definitely not going to do that. She’s only 100 miles away from Bowen and is a very large and powerful system. We’re getting winds of 50mph and plummeting pressure, which means the eye is getting closer. She’s committed.

      • kymlucas says:

        Wish we could commit her in a different sense of the word.

  17. Lynda says:

    We lived through the 2011 tornado outbreak here, but tornadoes are hit and miss. I can’t imagine something so large that is everywhere at once. Sending prayer and waiting for your update, Kate. ❀

  18. dayphoto says:

    Gosh, this is fricken scary! I read through all the comments and hope you and yours can ride this thing through without any damage!

  19. cazinatutu says:

    I’m sitting here in safe and sunny London watching the track of your cyclone getting ever nearer and nearer to you … hope you’re safe but I guess you might have lost your electricity and internet by now

    my thoughts and best wishes are with you

    • katechiconi says:

      So far, so good. We just had a surge that tripped out some of the power, but it’s back up again now. It may be a different story later this morning when she crosses the coast. She’s heading for Bowen, so I think we’ll avoid the worst of it, but we still have howling wind and lashing rain and 8 more hours before touchdown… All good wishes and thoughts much appreciated πŸ™‚

  20. magpiesue says:

    I’m so glad you have a bolt hole inland. Sounds like you’re going to be riding out some of the worst of it. Still holding you in my thoughts and prayers.

    • katechiconi says:

      We’re still here, still dry and so far the power is holding. We have about 8 or 10 hours before the eye makes landfall, and the wind is building. I’ll be doing an update later, while the power and internet are still on. If you need focus for your thoughts, save your siege of heaven for 8 hours’ time – that’s when we’ll need heavenly intervention!

  21. Been a bit hectic here… but in a very different way than you πŸ™„ But have been thinking of you and planning to check in. Thanks for the blog post and updates. Stay safe.

    • katechiconi says:

      I have at least 4 or 5 screens open on my laptop at once with all the weather, news feed, flood maps, etc. Staying on Debbie’s track helps to distract me from thoughts of what could go wrong πŸ™‚ Mostly, I’m deeply grateful she took a slight right hand turn at around 11pm local time last night! The wind is bad though, sounds like a train passing on an overhead bridge, and we had one gust a few minutes ago that sent us scurrying to check all was still secure. Whoops, and the lights just flickered….

  22. Well, hell, I’m behind, aren’t I? I grew up in Hurricane alley in the US, so I know exactly what you are/were going through. Going to play catch-up now!

    • katechiconi says:

      I’ve given up stressing about the flooding downstairs. Now, I’m just trying to keep the mud from tracking everywhere else in the house. Not easy, and it’s impossible to keep my feet clean – boots, in these temperatures? I don’t think so! Roll on hot water, fast internet and all the other joys of modern living!

  23. rutigt says:

    Scaring but interesting reading, thanks πŸ™‚

  24. TechBook says:

    Now, I’m just trying to keep the mud from tracking everywhere else in the house. Yes, I think most people feel the same way.

    • katechiconi says:

      It was rather like the Chinese curse: May you live in interesting times…. The mud is a thing of the past now, but there are communities nearby who were completely inundated and have still not been able to go home. I count my blessings.

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