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Cyclone Ita report………..and thank you.

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Cyclone Ita track prediction.

Cyclone Ita track prediction.

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.Β  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.Β  Thank you my friends.

 

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About GOF

"Life is like a sewer. What you get out of it, depends upon what you put into it." (Tom Lehrer)

40 responses »

  1. So glad to see you checking in GOF.

    Reply
  2. I’m just glad the two of you are OK, and that Inga is safely out of harm’s way (though having heard of her temper from you, not sure who’d come off worse between her and Ita…). Buildings can be repaired. You, my friend, cannot.

    Be safe, and please take it easy when making repairs.

    Reply
    • Wonderful to hear from you again Pete. Thank you for your concern and I learned several lessons from my repair schedule last cyclone. I don’t want to spend a week on crutches this time. πŸ™‚

      Reply
    • The reason we don’t get cyclones in Melbourne is because they’re scared of me. πŸ˜‰

      And yes, hello again!

      Reply
  3. “Mother Nature is toying with us.”
    And casually destroying plans. I’m glad you two came through it okay.

    Reply
    • Hope all is well with both of you too Mike….it must have passed very close to your place too. Ita certainly seemed to die quite rapidly after 10pm last night…..we were prepared for some serious westerlies on the trailing edge but they never eventuated..

      Reply
  4. So very glad to hear that all is well in your paradise. And the 34th anniversary was celebrated in the midst of it all!
    Ken and I celebrate our 34th in September! And, here in Michigan, it’s unlikely we will be seeing any cyclones or hurricanes.

    Reply
  5. Glad you’re safe, but actually have electricity!

    and I’ll withhold the comment I was going to make about one big windy entity respecting the turf of another …

    Reply
    • Thank you very much GOM, and I just knew you were going to pick up on the ‘windy’ passage.(???) πŸ™‚
      We’re always thankful for our uninterrupted electricity and water supplies after cyclones. After Cyclone Yasi many towns didn’t have these services restored for a month or more.

      Reply
  6. So glad to hear there was minimal damage to yourselves and your home, GOF. And a belated happy anniversary to you both.

    Reply
  7. Reblogged this on 1petermcc's Blog and commented:
    The latest weather update this time from GOF himself. 12 inches of rain has got to grab your attention.

    Reply
  8. Happy 34th anniversary to both of you, and congratulations on getting through this cyclone without too much damage.

    Reply
  9. I didn’t know that about the red flag. You’re a fount.

    It’d be interesting to know what the local aboriginal lore is regarding cyclones. I wonder how they sheltered?

    Anyway, very happy GOF Manor has come through another one unscathed – very relieved. X

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    • Thank you Inga. I recently heard a historian talking about the red flag, and yesterday during the radio talkback a lady rang in to tell the story about her grandfather who had to pedal a bike into Cairns regularly during summer to check for red flags.

      Brad could probably tell some stories about aboriginal lore re cyclones in his area. There are very few descendants of the original inhabitants still living around here.
      I know that I would have been heading up to the Bartle Frere caves if I didn’t have this self-built structurally perfect Category 75 cyclone-rated mansion here………for you to inherit…….dependent upon you maintaining and broadcasting my ‘fount’ status. πŸ™‚

      Reply
  10. Very happy everything’s ended well for the GOF clan. And happy belated anniversary to you and Mrs GOF.

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  11. Have been tracking the cyclone’s progress and thinking of you.During our floods the ABC were a fantastic source of information too. Happy Anniversary too!

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    • Thank you FD…it’s nice to have you on our side. I suspect many city folk do not appreciate the valuable service that ABC local radio provides in times of disaster. We personally know one of the old rural reporters (now retired) from Cairns who used to man the studio day and night for days on end during cyclones……his experience and knowledge of people, places and topography was a valuable resource for all the listeners as well as the emergency services.

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  12. That being out of the way – when are the next markets?? We still have an unfinished dinner to do. — Glad your both safe!! — Oh – and Happy Anniversary!!!!

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    • Thank you Roz……we briefly thought about coming down early yesterday, but the Gillies Range was closed…..good excuse.
      Next one should be 11 May……unless there is a tsunami, earthquake or nuclear meltdown in the vicinity. πŸ™‚

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  13. Congrats on your 34th, and so glad all is well. I’ve been following the progress of the cyclone on our news site.

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  14. I’m so glad to hear that Mother Nature did not smish ye.

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  15. I’m so glad you guys are okay, GOF. You do realize that scared the hell out of me…..and I wasn’t even within a thousand miles of the thing. The category 5 designation made it sound quite terrifying. Glad it lost steam going over land…….maybe she pigged out on some Australian BBQ along the way and lost her juju.

    Stay safe you all and a very happy anniversary to you both.

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    • Thank you Emmy. I’m not sure if it ever got to category 5, but I guess it’s better for the weather bureau to overestimate strength because it makes people prepare better. I do however question the prediction of ’embedded tornadoes’ in my area when in hindsight it was never likely to occur. I like hindsight.

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  16. Very happy to hear you and the Mrs are well enough and Happy Anniversary!

    I’ve lived through 2 hurricanes, one being particularly bad (I was injured) and that’s sort of a lot of a land-locked Hillbilly! That’s what I get for ever leaving the mountains, eh?

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    • Thank you Lily. Sorry about your hurricane experience. I would have thought tornadoes in the US are even worse if you get them in your neck of the woods…..less predictable with more catastrophic results.

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      • Tornadoes are worse but one of the hurricanes I was in was particularly horrible. I could tell ‘sailor tales!’ I was also in a Cat 5 storm on the OCEAN. They’d never have let us deport had they known it was going to be that big. It was something you hear about on the news. I’ve been in one horrendous ocean storm and one plane (where everybody knew it was a miracle to survive and everybody got their money back from the company!).

        It’s funny cos I’ll talk to people who travel for a living and never experience them. I should probably stay in the mountains. But I’d gladly travel more if I had time/ money! Did I ever tell you about getting run OVER by an 18 wheeler? It can happen anywhere. I seem to draw these big events. And I always have plenty of witnesses and cohorts in them, so it’s provable!

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        • Did I miss some blog stories about 18-wheelers and Cat 5 storms and horrendous plane trips?
          If not, when are they going to be written? πŸ™‚

          Reply
  17. Wow, I’ve been busy these last few days and missed that this was going on. Glad to hear you survived unscathed, GOF. Your account of your cyclone experiences makes them sound pretty terrifying. I’m glad it’s something we don’t have to worry much about in the UK!

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    • Cyclones are the only downside to living in this part of the world Lance. This one looked particularly nasty, but it weakened before landfall so everybody considers themselves fortunate….except a couple of dozen people whose houses were destroyed and farmers who lost crops through wind or flood damage..

      Reply
  18. Glad to hear you’re all okay and that the house is still standing! You are so correct. We can do what we want to, but Mother Nature will have the last laugh. Someday.

    Happy anniversary!

    And take as long as you need to get things back in shape. We’ll just continue our band practice. The ice skating is coming along, but the saxophone still needs some work. πŸ˜€

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    • Thank you AuntieB. The vision of your saxophone-playing excellence will inspire my cleanup efforts. Fortunately nowhere near as much damage to repair as after the last couple of cyclones. Not sure how many more storms the house roof will endure though. Time will tell. πŸ™‚

      Reply

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