Monday, March 20, 2006


Similar new tropical storm to Larry now sits 2000km off the Queensland coast. It continues to build strength, likely to form into a Category Three in the next 24 hours, but no information about where it would make landfall, whether it would retain or increase its strength,

Very strong winds still reported in Cairns, gale force winds hitting the Atherton Tablelands inland from Cairns.

Cyclones weaken as they cross the coast, losing the heat beneath them from the warm ocean, but it can take hours to lose a head of steam like Cyclone Larry held.

Greatest threat at the moment appears to be the widespread flooding and the problems with electricity, which could be out to thouands of houses for days, if not weeks.

The eye of the cyclone was so small, yet so intense. Simliar in strength to Hurricane Katrina, but lacking the width and it this storm kept moving, while Katrina almost hovered in place over parts of New Orleans and Mississippi. To get to a Category Five, you need an incredible mix of weather and atmospheric conditions, which are reportedly incredibly rare.
Hamilton Island had 60knot winds last night, but escaped major damage.

Numerous eyewitness accounts of sheets of metal ripping free from sheds and factories and flying through the air, entering other buildings and crashing into cars.

The bucket from a cement truck was ripped from the vehicle and was seen rolling down a street in a North Queensland town.

The Army is on full stand-by for the deployment into the disaster zones.

Australian Army troops stationed in Townsville spent the night preparing for the rescue and recovery effort. They will be moving in to devastated towns like Innisfail later today with supplies of tarps, water, chainsaws, ration packs and other essentials.

Still only thin reports about what homes are unliveable or too damaged to live in. Innisfail appears to have lost dozens of houses to the storm.

Calls from Moreeba on radio, winds still roaring through the town of 12,000 people, the eye just passed, winds of second stage causing massive damage, roofs torn away, sheds and warehouses destroyed.

Banana farmers around Innisfail are reporting whole plantations destroyed, and are expected to be out of business for at least twelve months. Miles and miles of sugar cane fields reported destroyed, along with entire fruit and vegetable farms. First estimates of $310 million worth of damage. "An absolute tragedy for the farmers," a radio announcer declared.