Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Cool but frightening

Take a look at this animated image of Cyclone Yasi bearing down on North Queensland. It is expected to cross the coast around 1am on Thursday. Residents are currently being asked to evacuate low-lying areas and to drive south as far as possible, but at least as far as Mackay. Enforced evacuations will kick in later today. Two Cairns hospitals are being evacuated to Brisbane.

Cairns is 1700km from Brisbane, Mackay is 1000km. So people driving themselves away from the coast need to be at least a day's drive south.

And for those congenital sightsee-ers, this message from the Deputy Police Commissioner who according to the
ABC says that "anyone foolish enough to venture out during the height of the cyclone will be left to fend for themselves."

"At about 8:00am tomorrow, on current predictions, it will become dangerous to be driving about or walking about or doing anything outside due to the force of the winds," he said. "If people purposely go out and get into strife and create a high risk, sending emergency services workers out into that environment is not practical or sensible."

It's a tough year to be in Queensland.

1 comment:

Vivi said...

Years ago I saw a lecture by a high-ranking Australian fire marshall (or whatever his title is down under) about wildfires and survival rates and How It Is Done Down Under.

He said the primary difference between Australian and USA approaches to containing wildfires is that the Australian way leaves most of the foundational work to the individuals living in the path of the wildfire. The officials train, and provide (hoses, sandbags) and warn people to leave when they must, but don't actually do much fire-fighting at the level of preserving individual's homes (they are more concerned with containing the fires generally). In America, huge resources are spent protecting individual homes, and evacuating individuals (who, I'll interject, were stupid enough not to get out of the way earlier). Firemen are the ones who soak the roofs, not the home-owners, for instance, as is required (if you want to save your home) in Australia.

The survival rates -- of humans and of property -- are much higher in Australia than USA (I can't remember if that's in a ratio per fire, or overall -- more wildfires in Australia).

Anyway, I am reminded of that approach in your news brief about the approaching cyclone.

Stay safe and as dry as possible! It's been a wet start to your year, certainly.