Wednesday, February 02, 2011

The Night Of The SuperStorm

By Darryl Mason

(scroll down for latest posts, all posts in Sydney time)

This isn't meant to be a comprehensive round-up of all things Cyclone Yasi, just notes from the news as it breaks, quotes from QLD call-in radio coverage and info chunks from Twitter, throughout this long & tragic night.


10pm : The latest Bureau of Meteorology progress projection for Cyclone Yasi :

11.45pm : Cyclone Yasi is still a Category 5 storm and its full force is about to slam into Innisfail, the Queensland coastal town of 10,000 utterly devastated by Cyclone Larry five years ago.

11:47pm : Sounds like the 300kmh eye of Yasi is not going to hit Cairns. Lucky Cairns.


12:12am : More than 100,000 homes in the path of Yasi have lost power. Power has been cut to the biggest evacuation centre in Cairns.

12:16am : People trapped in their homes as Yasi hits Townsville are calling police for help, but rescues are now impossible. Huge storm surges hitting coastal homes at Townsville.

12:20am : Latest Bureau of Meteorology update. 290kmh winds reported between Cairns and Ingham. "Very destructive winds" expected to last until 4am.

12:27am : The latest BoM satellite image as Yasi reaches land :

12:33am : North Queenslanders plan to ride out mega-cyclone drinking at their local pub. "She'll be right."

12:41am : Cairns locals kept their sense of humour.

12:42am : Caller to ABC Local Radio QLD asked "How's it going there?" Answer : "Yeah, great! Bit windy but."

12:50am : 7 metre storm surge expected to swamp some 10,000 homes in Townsville by dawn. "A tsunami combined with a storm," as ABC's Mark Colvin suggested. Townsville has lost power, winds of about 12okmh sweeping through the town.

12:54am : On Twitter, Queenslanders dealing with 120-150kmh reporting windows, doors bulging & bending, brick buildings shuddering, roofs lifting. Trying to imagine winds rising to almost 300kmh is filling them with terror. Twitter stream is #TCYasi.

1:27am : Caller Debbie from Townsville on ABCRadio QLD describes sitting in dark, listening to radio, crocheting by candlelight. "It's like living back in 1920!"

1:30am : Twitterers in Townsville describing "upside down rain", rain looks like it is falling up, not down.

1:32am : Surreal moment on Channel 7 news live coverage. Reporter Matt White in Cairns begs people not to go outside. He was standing outside as he made this plea.

1:33am : Caller to ABCRadio QLD describes eye of Yasi passing over Mission Beach, total calm, sky so clear he could see the stars.

2:01am : Full fury of Yasi now hitting Innisfail, reports of damage to homes, businesses, local infrastructure. Police receiving more calls from people begging for help, police unable to do anything but talk them through it. Four hours of storm fury still to come.

2:40am : Cairns central business district still has power, traffic lights and street lights still on.

3:02am : Apparently the storm surge near Townsville arrived earlier than expected and didn't combine with the morning tide, instead they acted against each other. This means the expected storm surge damage to homes along the beaches will not be as bad as predicted. Great news.

3:07am : In Sydney at least, channels 10, 9 and 7 have decided infommercials are more important than live coverage of one of the biggest cyclones in Australia's recorded history.

3:25am : Sounds like Cairns has escaped the worst of Cyclone Yasi's winds & storm surge. More great news.

3:26am : Satellite images apparently showing collapse of cyclone's eye, still a dangerous cyclone, but soon to be downgraded. Something miraculous appears to be happening.

3:33am : A roundup on online & print newspaper front pages from last night and this morning.

Brisbane Times :

Courier Mail :

Adelaide Advertiser :

Herald Sun :

Northern Territory News :