Southern Highlands, NSW, Australia

Wednesday, February 2, 2011


The map below is to give our overseas friends an idea of the size of the cyclone which is just arriving on the north coast of Queensland as I am typing (4:30pm).  The centre will not pass over the coast until 10pm. The people up there are going to be battered by winds of up to 300 mph for 20 hours.

At the moment people who have not been evacuated have been told to get off the streets now and bunker down in the smallest safest room. They should have a portable radio, torch, medicines, and fill the bath with water. They need to have shoes on and have mattresses, doonas and raincoats with them for protection.  The State and federal governments have been coordinating emergency services and the military to try and save as many lives as possible.

Before the towns were in lock down many filled sandbags to try and protect their homes from the massive storm surge that will wash inland.

People emptied stores of radios, torches, generators, water, fuel and food.

The biggest hospital evacuation in Australia took place when over 250 patients from Cairns public and private hospitals were airlifted to Brisbane by the military. They included intensive care patients, babies in humid cribs, women about to give birth and people on dialysis.

There were thousands of tourists visiting the Great Barrier Reef Islands, who had to be evacuated. The tourist boats had to try and find shelter.

Business owners and workers cover the windows with batons. 

Home owners too. All people in low lying areas were told to leave. They either went by car, train or plane to family and friends elsewhere.
At the airports there were queues. The airports closed today at 10am. The roads are all closed now.

The 10 evacuation centres are full even though people were told they shouldn't go there until after the storm as the buildings are not necessarily cyclone proof.

People have been told that emergency services will go in as soon as it is safe. There are navy ships sheltering further north ready to move in as soon as it is over. There are thousands of troops based in Townsville, one of the towns which will be affected. Hopefully, there won't be any lives lost. The cyclone is expected to travel at least 400k inland before it will start to weaken. 

We have a friend in Cairns who is having a birthday today. His house is on higher ground and he is bunkering down there. He also went through the 1974 cyclone Tracy, which wiped out Darwin. We have friends who live in Townsville in a caravan. They are on their way down here now. I have a blogger friend, Bernie, who lives near Townsville.

I am aware that there are bad snow storms in the US at the moment. I hope you all keep safe too.

All photos are from the Courier Mail news site.


  1. At least you are lucky to have government that knows how to make orderly preparations for the aftermath and how to prepare the public beforehand. Our officials should go and learn from Australia.

    Hoping for the best for all in the north.

  2. That map really gives an idea of the size of the storm, it is a monster. 300 mph winds are going to be devestating. It sounds like the emergency services have a good plan and will be in place to help people after the storm moves on.

    I hope all the people who plan on riding it out will be okay.

  3. Another great report, I have been too busy today to follow the news as it evolves.

  4. Great reporting Diane.
    All that can be done by all services has been done and it has been an amazing case of cooperation and coordination. It now is in the lap of the "gods" so to speak.
    Tomorrow will tell the tale.
    After this, if anything still exists, I would think that all new homes will have to have cyclonic saving rooms attached - like in the US Tornedo belt and all above the low water line. I think "developers" of land parcels will be put to the sword and new regulations will come, at last to the fore!
    Off to bed and then up to see at 2.00am what is left! Terrible to even contemplate.

  5. This is so scary, you can only shelter yourself and wait, terrible. But your governement takes things very serious and does a lot to protect the people. Hope for the best for all of you and your beautiful country.

  6. An excellent account of the reality of what's happening - thank you so much for this, Diane! Friends of ours emigrated to Cairns from Zimbabwe well over 20 years ago and, sadly, over the intervening years, we completely lost touch.

    All one can do is hope it won't be as devastating as expected and that there will be minimal loss of life, if at all. It must be quite terrifying, waiting, not knowing.
    I hope your friends will come through unscathed.


    Des xo

  7. A very good account of the situation, Diane. We are still watching the continuous coverage on Ch:7.

  8. All cvery very scarey Diane - I think you Australians must have killed a robin! xxxx

  9. I just love the map because it covers Arizona, too. Hey...anything for a bit of rain here.

    Wait a minute. I have to check my roof first!

    Hope you and everybody this will hit will come through this okay. Looks like it's a bad one. We've got the "cyclone" snowstorm covering most of this country. It hasn't rained here but it's mighty cold outside. It's 35 degrees outside right now.

  10. Very scary Diane. I pray for the people in these areas and for your friends who have left there. I agree with Dina, you have a really jacked - up government who seems to be in control. God's safe hand over you all today. Greetings from Jo

  11. We've been watching ninemsn. I think there will be many people all around Oz tonight who wil lbe up late. They said Yasi is 1,000 kms wide and is larger than the state of Victoria. I hope that everybody stays safe. The news broadcast gave their last for the night with the next one to be around 5 am Thursday.
    It's been such a terrible time for Queensland, so much devastation.

  12. I seldom leave comments on blog, but I have been to this post which was recommend by my friend, lots of valuable details, thanks again.

  13. Diane, thanks for the updates on the cyclone. Our prayers are for all affected in Australia.
    I'm having a horrible winter blast here, it's -21C with windchill factor of -29C! Also some blowing snow to make drifts. Certainly not fit for man or beast to be out and about.
    So prayers for everyone affected by the crazy weather in our world.
    Take care..blessings!

  14. Thank you for taking the time and effort to let us know about all the measures underway to keep people and property as safe as possible from the winds and storm surge of this massive cyclone.

    Be safe, Australia. I will play my didgeridoo today in your honor.

  15. Wow, that cyclone is huge. Stay safe my friend.

  16. We heard it in the News, I have to watch TV tonight, I hope your area will not be hit too much !

  17. This just almost makes me cry.... My eldest son and family were involved with Hurricane Ike --which hit Galveston, TX a couple of years ago. They first came to TN for a week or two and then when they went back, their resort was so heavily damaged that they had to move to Las Vegas --in order to find work. They stayed in Vegas for over a year --but are now back in Texas.. BUT--there's always that fear that another hurricane will hit....

    I hope and pray that you all are okay--and I pray for those who lost so much in the cyclone. May God Be with them.


  18. I was watching on our News; it looks terrifying and will take so long to pass over too. My thoughts and prayers are with you. What mad weather we are having everywhere.

  19. It is such a massive cyclone! I pray that everyone will be safe, Diane, and that Yasi will veer off into the ocean as sometimes happens here with hurricaines.

  20. The size (and power) of this storm are unbelievable. The situation in Egypt has almost swept Australia's story from the news, but we hope and pray that everyone will get through this safely.

  21. Thank you all for your kind thoughts. So far it looks like there are no casualties, thanks to the well coordinated warning system and everyone heading it. The cyclone crossed last night later than expected as it started to slow down in pace but not intensity.
    It moved south and Cairns was spared the direct hit but the smaller towns of Mssion Beach, Tully and Cardwell got the full force. Luckily most people had evacuated that area. Townsville the biggest town up north also got hit badly. The storm surge hasn't been as bad as expected. Yasi downgraded from 5 to 3 as it continued inland but still with damaging winds.

  22. Lucky it avoided the most populated cities, Cairns and Townsville, but those smaller towns have sadly not been so lucky. The devastation is massive but it could have been a lot worse.

  23. Have been thinking about you; be safe! I am going to go to NPR and listen to the news now and will check in with you first thing tomorrow. I identify with your friend in the caravan. When we lived in our RV we spent some time in Louisiana and Texas in hurricane country and we felt that at least we'd be able to move house if we had to.

  24. The map is the scariest thing I have ever seen. I can not fathom a storm so large and so strong. 300 mph winds are just so staggering that my mind can't grasp it. Praying for everyone.

  25. Scary indeed. I have a friend in Townsville as well. I hope they're OK.

  26. That is a huge storm! and 300? miles per hour? I think that has got to be the strongest storm, ever. I hope all of you in the affected area are ok.

    Here is a blog award for you: the Stylish Blogger Award. Stop by my blog to pick up your button!

  27. Diane although it is hard to believe, the reality is that life is tough for the people of Qld. Weather conditions the world over are changing. Where to from here?

  28. hope you aren't near the devestation Diane. my friends and dil's mum are all ok in cairns. i know you've had heaps of rain lately. hope you are safe and sound. i watched some of it on tv and it was truly scary. my heart goes out to those affected.