Watching a Catastrophe

Leaving home in Atherton last Friday, a small cyclone, Anthony, seemed unlikely to be a problem to my and my son’s car trip to Brisbane, some 2000 kilometers south. Indeed, after the first day’s journey, with some relief we left the coastal regional city of MacKay as predictions that Cyclone Anthony would cross near that city the following morning.
In the background of the watch for Cyclone Anthony, a cyclone that had begun near Fiji, and was called Yaris, had steadily moved west. As Cyclone Anthony faded into a rain depression with little influence, Yaris caught the full attention of the media as it moved passed Vanuatu, to Australia’s East by Sunday evening 30th Jan.
Even then, my thoughts were that, maybe Yaris would deviate, run down the east coast and even veer out to the southern Pacific. However, Yaris maintained a straight course, heading for my home region of North Queensland. As my only son left in Atherton with his mother, had to leave for Sydney and USA as soon as the risk of being stranded for a long while became apparent, it hit me that my wife was alone, my ageing parents were also alone in an old farm house, and my sister and her 2 children were in a flood prone area of Cairns.
Watching, powerless to do more that phone and talk about their preparations, I find myself feeling disappointed with my failure to better prepare the household for a major cyclone before I left. It now seems obvious that, given the current weather system, a major cyclone could easily develop before I returned from Brisbane. I wonder what I need to understand from this. I certainly have become of the habit that, apart from general seasonal preparations, final preparations can be done as cyclones make their run into the north. But this shows me that such a habit can be seriously flawed. I can only sit and pray as my sister’s family and my parents have now taken refuge with my wife in our Atherton (mountain) house, as Yaris bears done on them as a cat 4 cyclone. A little better than the cat5 that hits Cairns, but potentially devastating all the same.
And I pray for all my friends across the north who will take more direct hits that they. Sitting here, watching.


2 thoughts on “Watching a Catastrophe

  1. My family has had a frightening night, but safe. I await to hear from friends around Tully where the core of Yaris crossed the coast. Tulle looks quite devastated on tv images.

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