March 29th 2017
Residents of Australia's cyclone-battered tropical northeast emerged from their homes on Wednesday to find roofs lying in their yards, boats flung onto rocks and roads blocked by tangles of fallen trees and power lines, as emergency officials tried to reach communities cut off by the powerful storm.
Cyclone Debbie, which slammed into the coast of Queensland state on Tuesday with winds up to 160 miles an hour, weakened quickly as it moved inland and was downgraded to a tropical low by Wednesday morning.
Australia's military sent vehicles, aircraft and supplies to the region, and clean-up efforts were expected to begin later Wednesday. Around 60,000 houses were without power, and several communities remained isolated with no access to communications.
Emergency workers were trying to reach those areas to ensure residents were safe, Queensland Police Commissioner Ian Stewart said.
"Nature has flung her worst at the people of north Queensland," Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull told reporters.
"It is now our job to make sure that every agency pulls together ... to provide support to the people of north Queensland who have had a very tough day and night."
There were no reports of deaths from the storm. One man was injured after a wall collapsed in the town of Proserpine, Stewart said. He was in stable condition.
Proserpine was one of the worst-hit areas, along with the resort town of Airlie Beach and the town of Bowen. There was also serious damage to resorts on the idyllic Whitsunday Islands, a popular tourist destination, Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said. Around 200 people on holiday on Daydream Island were awaiting evacuation, and water supplies were running low.
"There would be nothing more tragic than waking up and seeing walls that have come in from your houses, roofs that have gone off, and debris that is lying across your roads," Palaszczuk told reporters.
At the port of Shute Harbour, 10 kilometers (6 miles) east of Airlie Beach, the storm tossed around 30 vessels onto the rocks, Whitsundays Regional Council Mayor Andrew Willcox said.
Queensland Fire and Rescue Service Commissioner Katarina Carroll said the state emergency services department had received 800 calls for help, and that number was expected to rise as power came back on in communities.
The area produces sugarcane and a wide range of fruits and vegetables, including mangoes and peppers, and farmers were just beginning to check on damage to their crops Wednesday morning.
Farmer Bill Atkinson, who lives 25 kilometers (15 miles) from Airlie Beach, said the storm had battered his property, tearing roofs off sheds, knocking down trees and partially destroying his sugarcane.
"It's going to be sad. It hasn't done (the crop) any favors," he said. "The cane is bent over, the tops are cracked off."
March 28th 2017
TOWNSVILLE, Australia — A powerful cyclone slammed into Australia's tropical northeast coast on Tuesday, tearing down fences, snapping trees and knocking out power to thousands, officials said.
The destructive eyewall of Cyclone Debbie, a Category 4 storm packing winds up to 260 kilometers per hour (160 miles per hour), made landfall near Airlie Beach, a resort town in Queensland state, the Australian Bureau of Meteorology said in a statement.
The town is a jumping-off point for the Whitsunday Islands, a popular tourist destination that has been pummeled by fierce winds that damaged roofs and knocked down palm trees.
Officials warned that the slow-moving storm was likely to hover over the region for several hours before weakening as it moved inland. Queensland Police Commissioner Ian Stewart said the cyclone's glacial pace had created a "battering ram effect," with some areas enduring the howling winds and drenching rains for a punishingly long time.
Communities along more than 300 kilometers (200 miles) of coastline were expected to be impacted, he said.
"I suspect before the day is out, we will see a lot of structural damage in the cyclone's path," Stewart said.
John Collins, a member of the Whitsundays government council, was sheltering from the storm with his wife and four daughters inside their house in Proserpine, a town south of Airlie Beach. He could see that four of his neighbors' sheds had been destroyed and every house within eyesight — including his own — had lost their fences. At least four trees had been smashed to pieces.
"It sounds like you got a jumbo jet sitting on the roof of your house," Collins said by telephone of the wind roaring outside. "It really is so loud. It's incredible."
Collins' wife and two of their daughters were so scared they were hiding under blankets. Meanwhile, one of his other daughters — whom he described as "a real weather nerd" — was enthralled with the storm, and was diligently listening to the radio for updates on its path. The family's power had been out since Tuesday morning, and they were resigned to several more hours of waiting until it was safe to emerge from their house.
"It's just going on and on and on," he said.
Thousands of people evacuated low-lying areas in the storm's path on Monday. Hundreds of schools were closed on Tuesday and more than 20,000 households were without power by mid-afternoon.
"Conditions have deteriorated rapidly," Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said in an address to Parliament. "Take care and stay safe. Be prepared to shelter in place until Wednesday."
Whitsundays Regional Council Mayor Andrew Willcox said authorities had received 98 requests for help and had responded to most of them.
The storm also poses a serious threat to the farming region's crops. The area produces a wide range of fruits and vegetables, including tomatoes, mangoes and peppers.
March 27th 2017
Thousands of north Queenslanders are being evacuated as Cyclone Debbie bears down on the coast, bringing winds of up to 240 kilometres per hour and possibly a four-metre storm surge.
The Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) has warned the storm will be the worst since Cyclone Yasi in 2011, and the Premier said it was "bigger than Marcia" — the category five system that hit Queensland in 2015.
The slow-moving category three cyclone is about 300 kilometres off the coast and is expected to intensify into category four and cross south of Bowen before 10:00am on Tuesday.
Many locals have expressed nervousness, and some have refused to leave their homes.
A tourist has died on the road near Proserpine, with Police Commissioner Ian Stewart saying the death was "associated with this weather event".
Evacuation orders are in place for low-lying areas in parts of the Burdekin, Whitsundays, and parts of the Townsville council regions.
"You're going to see people without power for some time, large trees down, roofs damaged," meteorologist Adam Blazak said.
You want to be inside. You're going to see large flying debris. Obviously caravans don't usually stand a chance. You usually see them completely destroyed."
'We haven't seen a cyclone like this': Mayor
Burdekin Shire Mayor Lyn McLaughlin said forced evacuations should be completed by 10:00am, and police would visit people who had not followed orders.
She said she knew of a couple of people who had not left. "They don't understand the severity.
This is a major cyclone. We haven't seen a cyclone like this," she said.
"People who stay, they stay at their own risk. "They are given notice that once the winds get to 100 kilometres no-one is going to come to their assistance."
Evacuation buses are transporting residents from Ayr and nearby Home Hill this morning.
Cyclone shelters have been opened in Bowen and Proserpine, but authorities said they were only for people who had no other options.
The local ports have been closed and schools from Ayr to Proserpine are closed today, with as many as 74 likely to be closed from tomorrow onwards.
Graham Lawrence is finishing preparations to his home in the beachside community of Cungulla, before he evacuates to Townsville, in the north.
"Everyone's a bit nervous this morning," he said.
"We're heading up to Townsville to stay with our son and daughter in law, up in Pimlico, and their place went through Yasi okay so I presume we'll get through this one okay.
"We can pop a champagne and a have a couple of drinks and keep our fingers crossed." Mike Kennedy is staying behind with his prized motorbike.
He reckons 40 per cent of Cungulla residents are staying, despite the advice to leave.
"The council doesn't do much for us and now we've got the council out the front, parading around, well, I'd like to say some bad stuff to them."
"We are left to our own devices out here if we stay, which we are," he said.
"Everyone’s in the same basket
"We'll just give it a go and rally together. Aussie Aussie Aussie type thing, you know? Oi oi oi and all that.
"We made the decision to stay but… the police can come and say what they want.
"This is our block of dirt and we're going defend it from the storm if we can." Townsville Mayor Jenny Hill said only southern areas of the city were being forced to evacuate.
Although Townsville is not directly in the firing line, it is still expected to be hit with category three winds.
QFES warns of massive storm surge
The Bureau of Meteorology have specifically warned residents between Lucinda and Mackay of a dangerous storm tide when the cyclone crosses the coast.
Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) commissioner Katarina Carroll said the biggest concern was not just the wind, but the rain and the storm surge that would follow.
She said it could be anywhere between two and four metres.
"If you've been directed to evacuate, you really need to evacuate," she said.
Cyclone Debbie 'bigger than Marcia': Premier
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said it is the first time a category four cyclone had hit the region.
She said Debbie was "bigger than Marcia", which made landfall as a category five system in a largely uninhabited area north of Yeppoon.
"We are concerned about a number of vulnerable people, so elderly people with a disability, who are living in those pre-1985 homes around Ayr and Home Hill," she said.
"The old homes will not sustain the impact." "Queenslanders are very tough. We know that. We have got a history of standing up to a lot of things that come our way.
"But I am concerned about elderly people. I really am concerned.
"We are asking neighbours to check on friends and relatives."
About 1,000 extra emergency services personnel have flown into the region.
The Army is on standby and ready to help before and after the storm passes.
Authorities have also ensured the region does not run out of fuel and energy suppliers will ensure power is restored as quick as possible after the event.
Dec 25th 2016
MANILA - Authorities urged hundreds of thousands of people to evacuate their homes on Saturday as a strong typhoon threatened to wallop the country's east coast on Christmas Day.
Typhoon "Nina" (international name: Nock-Ten) is expected to be packing winds of 222 kilometers per hour (138 miles per hour) when it makes landfall on Catanduanes, a remote island of 250,000 people, on Sunday, the US Joint Typhoon Warning Center said.
It is then expected to hit the country's main island of Luzon, including the capital Manila, on Monday.
"We issued an advisory to local government units this morning to conduct preemptive evacuations," Rachel Miranda, spokeswoman for the civil defense office in the Bicol region that includes Catanduanes, told AFP.
Bicol, an agricultural region of 5.5 million people, is often the first area to be hit by the 20 or so storms and typhoons that pound the archipelago each year.
The most powerful and deadliest was Haiyan, which left 7,350 people dead or missing and destroyed entire towns in heavily populated areas of the central Philippines in November 2013.
The Philippine weather service warned of potentially deadly two-meter (six-and-a-half-foot) waves along the east coast, as well as landslides and flash floods from heavy rains.
ABS-CBN showed footage Saturday of long lines of trucks, cars and vehicles stranded at Bicol ports after the coastguard shut down ferry crossings to nearby islands as a precaution.
The action prevented thousands of people from returning to their hometowns for the Christmas weekend, it said.
Cedric Daep, civil defense chief for the Bicol province of Albay, told AFP at least 400,000 people in that region alone needed to be evacuated.
"Our evacuation centers will not be able to accommodate all of them," he said. Others were being asked to stay with relatives or friends.
"We are requesting vehicle support" from other government agencies to move people to safety, Daep added.
Rotating storm clouds that are very strong, they are cyclones in the Indian and South Pacific regions.
In the Atlantic and the northern parts of the Pacific they are called hurricanes and the name given in the north-western Pacific is a typhoon
These storms rotate anti-clock wise in the northern hemisphere and clockwise in the southern hemisphere due to the rotation of the earth and are classified in metrology on the synoptic scale which is a simple linear scale that measures the width.
You should be prepared for Cyclone's even if you don't live in a well-known affected area, they can happen in the most unusual places
Keep your food stocks so they are adequate for an emergency, few perishables and a good supply of clean water.
Make sure your grab-bag is handy and has not been pilfered.
Always be prompt at making repairs to your house it will be better able to stand the storm if it is in good condition, pay attention to the weather reports as frequently as you can, you may not have much time.
If you are warned of an oncoming storm now is the time to harvest any goods from your garden and preserve them as well as you can.
Secure any boats in a safe area, moore them so they don't drift away but not tied down so they sink.
If you have lifebelts or other floatation devices bring them to the house so you can take them if you leave.
Take care of your animals, release them rather than let them be locked up and drownd.
If you are at home when the Cyclone arrives it is best that you stay there if possible, keep yourself updated with the latest weather reports.
Fill up any containers you have with clean drinking water.
Make make sure any naked flame lighting you are using is safely contained protect yourself from flying debris by staying in the safest part of the house and protect yourself with furniture and mattresses.
Prepared to be flooded take anything you can upstairs or put in high storage, if the water rises turn off your gas and electricity mains and keep out of the water if possible it may be contaminated or you may be electrocuted.
If you are advised to evacuate do so quickly and calmly they will probably tell you where to go but if not head for high ground.
Stay away from any running water the last thing you want is to be swept away.
As a precaution against your family being separated it is a good idea using an indelible pen to write the telephone number of a distant relative on everybody's forearm.
Write a note for each member of the household giving as many details as you can, such as address and parents phone numbers together with any medical problems your family may have.
When you return home after the storm make sure it is still a sound structure and are not too badly damaged for you to enter, do not turn on the electricity until you are sure everything is dried out, same with the gas do not turn on until you are sure the equipment and pipes are not damaged.
Report any damage to the authorities.
Make sure your house has not been taken over by animals such as rats, snakes and other vermin.
If you are obliged to walk the fields or flooded streets feel ahead with a stick for hidden objects or holes.
Typhoon Haima, measuring eight out of ten on the authorities’ severe storm scale, shut down Hong Kong on Friday morning closing schools, businesses, stock markets and offices.
The city’s streets were deserted as nearly 200 trees were blown down by wind gusting at more than 100 kilometres an hour.
A fifty year old man was reported dead after falling and hitting his head on a rock by the seafront and between 8 and 12 injuries were also reported.
At the airport over seven hundred flights were cancelled and the city was estimated to have lost more than half a billion dollars in revenue.
In eastern Taiwan low lying roads were flooded as heavy rain hit.
Meanwhile in the northern Philippines people began returning to their homes after Haima, the strongest storm in three years hit them.
It left a trail of destruction that killed at least 12 people after triggering flooding, landslides and power cuts.
Evacuations of high-risk communities helped prevent a larger number of casualties the authorities said.
Sept 14th 2016
Tens of thousands of homes lost power across Taiwan on Wednesday as Super Typhoon Meranti hit the island, a storm seen as the strongest in the world so far this year, forcing schools and businesses to close and flights to be cancelled.
Taiwan's Central Weather Bureau warned that the Category 5 storm would threaten several southern and eastern cities, including Kaohsiung and Hualien, with strong winds, torrential rain and flooding.
Meranti, which grew in strength as it neared Taiwan, was carrying maximum winds of 216 km per hour (134 mph), meteorologists said. Fallen power cables and trees were among some of the early damage reported.
"This typhoon is the world's strongest so far this year," weather bureau spokeswoman Hsieh Pei-yun said. "Its impact on Taiwan will peak all day today."
Typhoon Meranti Companies and schools in Kaohsiung and other cities have closed and almost 1,500 residents have been evacuated, the Central Emergency Operation Center said in a statement.
Nearly 200,000 households were without power, according to the Taiwan Power Co. Most domestic flights have been cancelled, including all of those from Kaohsiung airport, where international flights were also severely affected.
Taiwan will feel the full force of the typhoon through Wednesday and into Thursday before the storm barrels into China, meteorologists said.
Meranti is expected to make landfall in the southern Chinese provinces of Guangdong and Fujian on Thursday, where authorities were already cancelling train services and preparing to evacuate people, state media said.
Typhoon Meranti comes just over two months after the deadly typhoon Nepartak cut power, grounded flights and forced thousands to flee their homes across central and southern areas of Taiwan.
In 2009, Typhoon Morakot cut a swath of destruction through southern Taiwan, killing about 700 people and causing up to $3 billion of damage.
Super Typhoon Nepartak hit Taiwan with powerful winds and
torrential rain early on Friday. Thousands of people have been forced to
evacuate their homes as the island cancelled hundreds of flights and shut
offices and schools for the day.
With gusts of up to 234 kph (145 mph) the typhoon landed at Taimali township in eastern Taitung county shortly before 6:00 am Friday morning (2200 GMT on Thursday).
Almost 9,000 people have been moved from homes that were deemed prone to landslides or flooding with some 1,800 people in shelters. About 97,000 households lost power due to the storm, with more than 70,000 without electricity as of Friday morning. The government said financial markets, schools and offices would all be closed Friday and the bullet train service suspended.
CityNews – A tropical storm with raging
winds in Chiang Rai caused damage to many houses this past Saturday. After the
storm, the body of a 12 year old girl was found under a collapsed house,
severely damaged during the storm. Officials are continuing to explore affected
areas and assisting the citizens in suburban areas.
During the heavy rains and wind storm, about 500 houses were damaged in Chiang Rai, according to a report from the Phaya Meng Rai District. Especially houses which were built of wood with thatched roofs such as the house that collapsed and led to the death of the 12 year-old child.
Ex-Tropical Cyclone Winston could reform and head towards the Queensland coast, the Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) says, as massive swells close Gold Coast beaches.
The system, which is about 1,000 kilometres east of Brisbane and moving west, is then due to travel north-west into the Coral Sea.
Forecaster Jess Carey said there was a "slight possibility" it would intensify into a weak category one cyclone.
"It's moving into a body of water that is slightly warmer, so it's moving into more favourable territory," he said.
Feb 20th 2016
Australian holiday makers in Fiji are likely to wake up to devastation as a powerful, category-5 cyclone sweeps though the group of Pacific islands.
UNICEF worker Alice Clements - who is staying in Suva - says she wouldn't wish a category five cyclone on her worst enemy.
Speaking to AAP from her sturdy home on Saturday evening, Ms Clements described a dystopian scene of downed banana trees, howling winds and the "ominous" sounds of corrugated iron lifting on some of the roofs.
"And it's still very early hours of the storm," she said at 6pm.
Last year, Ms Clements experienced the wrath of Tropical Cyclone Pam, also a category-5, as it decimated Vanuatu.
Today, all she wants is for people who aren't in her position of "luxury" - "I have a strong house" - to find shelter and stay away from all bodies of water.
As for visiting Australians, Ms Clements said they're in for a few awful evenings before they can finally return home, possibly on Monday, provided the weather improves.
Virgin, Jetstar and Fiji Airways have either suspended or brought forward flights between Australia and Fiji as the category-5 tropical cyclone Winston descends on the island, bringing with it winds approaching 300km/h.
WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — Residents of Fiji were beginning
to clean up and assess the damage Sunday after a ferocious cyclone tore through
the Pacific island chain overnight.
There were no immediate reports of fatalities, although aid workers said it would take at least a day to establish communications with some of the smaller islands that were directly in Cyclone Winston's path. There were widespread reports of damage, with many homes and crops destroyed.
Authorities were urging people to remain indoors as they cleared fallen trees and power lines. They said all schools would be closed for a week to allow time for the cleanup.
On Saturday, the government imposed a nationwide curfew and declared a 30-day state of natural disaster, giving extra powers to police to arrest people without a warrant in the interest of public safety.
Wind speeds from Cyclone Winston were estimated at up to 285 kilometers (177 miles) per hour. The cyclone moved westward overnight along the northern coast of the main island, Viti Levu, before continuing out to sea.
Fiji's capital, Suva, located in the southern part of the main island, was not directly in the cyclone's path and avoided the worst of its destructive power.
"Truth be told, we've gotten off pretty lightly here in the capital," said Alice Clements, a spokeswoman for the aid agency UNICEF who lies in Suva. "It was still a pretty awful night. You could hear crashing trees and power lines, and popping rivets as roofs got lifted and ripped out."
She said there's foliage everywhere which looks like it has been put through a blender.
Clements said there's real concern for the welfare of people on the northern part of the main island and smaller islands elsewhere. She said many would have lost their homes and livelihoods.
She said the Fijian government is responding quickly by clearing vital roads.
Flights to Fiji were canceled on Saturday and Clements said some tourist resorts on the outer islands may have suffered damage.
Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama wrote on social media that the island's evacuation centers were operational and that the government was prepared to deal with a potential crisis.
"As a nation, we are facing an ordeal of the most grievous kind," he wrote. "We must stick together as a people and look after each other."
Fiji is home to about 900,000 people.
Australia Cyclone warning
A tropical low is forecast to become a category two tropical cyclone as it crosses the WA Pilbara coast, with communities in its path on yellow alert.
The alert level has been raised for communities in the path of a tropical low that is forecast to become a category two cyclone when it crosses the West Australian coast on Saturday morning.
The cyclone, to be named Stan if it forms, would be the first for the Australian cyclone season.
Late on Thursday night WA's Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES) issued a yellow alert for coastal communities from Pardoo to Whim Creek in the Pilbara, including Port Hedland and South Hedland.
"There is a possible threat to lives and homes as a cyclone is approaching the area. You need to take action and get ready to shelter from a cyclone," the alert said.
It advised people to tie down outdoor items, ensure pets were safe, move vehicles under cover, prepare emergency kits and be prepared to move to shelter if the alert level goes to red.
A lower level blue alert is current for communities between Bidyadanga to Pardoo including Marble Bar, Sandfire and Pardoo, and between Whim Creek to Mardie including Point Samson, Wickham, Roebourne, Karratha, Dampier and Pannawonica.
"Although there is no immediate danger you need to start preparing for dangerous weather and keep up to date," the alert said.
The Bureau of Meteorology said that at 9.02pm (WST) on Thursday the tropical low was about 415km north northwest of Port Hedland and 455km north of Karratha.
The low is forecast to become a tropical cyclone during Friday as it tracks southwards and is expected to reach category 2 intensity when it makes landfall on Saturday morning between Pardoo and Karratha.
Authorities are warning of gales in affected areas, destructive winds with gusts to 150km/h near the cyclone's centre on Saturday morning and afternoon, including in the Port Hedland area, along with heavy rainfall and higher than usual tides.
A flood watch is current for the Pilbara and a flood warning is current for the De Grey River Catchment.
Vessels have been evacuated from anchorages at Port Hedland.
Fortunately with modern communication systems these dangerous situations can be monitored easily and warnings issued by local government, civil defense, police, local radio and television.
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