It is with profound thankfulness and appreciation that I write these words today…..at 2 am in the calm which always follows a departing tropical storm.
Firstly I thank YOU for your concern and thoughtfulness. Especially those who took the time to leave comments here or call me on the phone. This is the second cyclone Mrs GOF and I have weathered with the support of my WordPress friends. Apart from a little flood and wind damage to shade houses we have come through Cyclone Ita unscathed.
Last night Mrs GOF and I enjoyed a 34th wedding anniversary dinner to the accompaniment of rain pounding on the tin roof, (giving thanks that it was still attached to the walls) the whistle of wind gusting through the rafters and the roar of the West Mulgrave waterfall four kilometres away as it disgorged the 12 inches of rain which fell in it’s catchment during the day .
Now….I’d like to get some more thankfulness and thoughts about cyclones off my chest before this blog deteriorates into it’s normal programming.
Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology is often the subject of much ridicule, but it’s record of cyclone track prediction during the last decade has been impeccable. The complex movement of Cyclone Ita was predicted with astonishing accuracy two days in advance of landfall. These days only fools ignore the cyclone warnings and predictions.
In today’s world of television, mobile phones, Facebook and Twitter it is worth remembering that 100 years ago advice about imminent cyclones consisted of ships ‘accidentally’ discovering the storms in the Coral Sea then relaying messages to the Cairns Telegraph Office. The Post Office would then raise a red flag on the roof. Whenever the residents of Cairns felt an abnormally strong wind they would travel into the Post Office to check if there was a red flag flying.
Another thankfulness; Cairns has the WORLD’S MOST WONDERFUL radio station. ABC Far North. During every cyclone the local announcers sacrifice their own sleep and comfort to provide 24-hour talkback radio including regular weather updates, connections to emergency services, companionship for the lonely and words of comfort for the isolated, frightened and distressed.
No matter how many cyclones you survive they always remain terrifying reminders of the fragility of life and the vulnerability of the structures which we build.
Most people never get to experience the other-worldliness of being in the ‘eye’ of a cyclone. In a strange way I feel privileged to have done so on two occasions during cyclones Winifred and Larry. There is absolute stillness and silence while looking up at a clear sky for ten or fifteen minutes before all hell breaks loose again unleashing several more hours of destruction.
Mother Nature is toying with us. She will be the ultimate winner on this planet.
P.S. It will take me a couple of days to undo all the pre-cyclone preparations which we made, so please cut me a little blogging slack….I will catch up with you all again soon. Thank you my friends.