Tuesday, March 20, 2012

So ... We Had A Little Severe Storm Today!

It has been raining here for non-stop here for over a week now ... and I mean non-stop!  I added a post just this Sunday gone all about the rain we had received since Thursday last week ... Thursday to Sunday over 236 mm fell, which is over 9 inches of rain.

Then on Monday another 75mm, around 3 inches fell from the heavens.  But that wasn't the end of it.  Yesterday, we experienced 150mm or 6 inches between 9.00 am and 10.30 pm, when we retired for the evening, and it was still bucketing down.

Sometime around 4.00 am this morning the wind suddenly whipped up at our place.  I could hear the cane furniture out on the verandah being moved around, and I know I heard things falling out in the courtyard.  The rain was pelting down so hard that I vaguely remember thinking ... hmmm, hope my plants are standing up to this!   But this being the tropics and the 'wet' season, storms are not at all uncommon, and I just rolled back over and resumed snoring!

When I finally did awake just after 6.00 am, it was still raining heavily and I could hear the roar of the rushing water in the seasonal creek down at the bottom of the hill that our house sits on.  This was the scene in the front yard as I walked to the front verandah.




Mmmm!  I thought!  We have had some really decent rain overnight!  I decided to grab the umbrella and take a walk.  The rain had lightened a little, so out I went to check out the conditions.

There was a wall of water rushing down the cement driveway.  Here's a little clip ...

video

There was just so much water running every which way all around our property.

There was a river tumbling into my shadehouse garden.

We suddenly had a swimming pool where the half-finished car shed sat!

The waterfalls had double in size,

and the lakes of water had suddenly grown much larger.

This was the waterpark feature at the front gate ...

video

and here's a look around as I strolled from the front gate, down the driveway to the front yard.

video
When I returned inside and turned on the television to catch the early morning news, I realised that my city had just experienced a severe freakish storm ... not a cyclone, but a tornado!  Apparently the winds reached speeds of around 130 to 150 kms an hour and it had cut a sway through a couple of the suburbs closer in towards the city.

Here's the radar image as the storm hit.


Houses were unroofed.  Trees were ripped out of the ground.  Objects were picked up and dumped streets away.  Powerlines were strewn across streets.  The structural damage caused by this freak storm was actually worse than the structural damage caused by Cyclone Yasi last year.  Despite the difference in size, this little storm packed a real punch.  Of course, Yasi affected a much, much larger area, but the damage here in Townsville was mostly to powerlines, light poles, sheds and trees.   There was indeed a lot of destruction of the vegetation, but very few houses or businesses badly damaged.

Back then we knew Yasi was on the way, and we were prepared.  This time, however, there was no warning at all.  Unfortunately the area of the city that was hit by this mini tornado was one of the less fortunate neighbourhoods, where people don't have fancy homes and really don't have all that much in the way of possessions or assets.  It's going to take quite some time for many of these people to actually get back into their homes and get back to their usual daily lives.

I'm adding a link to a collection of photos taken earlier today
 ABC News - Storm cell hits Townsville
and an online news page that tells the story ...
 Disaster zone declared over 500m corridor of destruction in Townsville


It was hard to take it all in.  These suburbs are about a 30 to 35 minute drive away from where I live.  In my outlying rural suburb, there was just a whole lot of water covering the roads and covering people's yards and properties.  Despite the fact that the rain was still bucketing down, I decided to go into work.  There was water everywhere, but I made it through.



Yet another exciting day in the tropics of north Queensland.  I wonder what tomorrow will bring.  Anyone dying to visit???

40 comments:

  1. Oh Bernie, I did see some video's of what happened in Townsville ( can't remember the suburb ) with the mini tornado. Poor people and it all happened in a few minutes. Crazy weather. This sure is the BIG WET. Cairns is the same, lots of roads closed also to Innisfail. Goldsborough is isolated as Pete's Bridge is flooded, the river rose more than 9m.
    Yes, I am dying to come! It's been so dry here and we had 27 days over 35C, well 9 heatwaves all up. Hard to keep the lawns dry, but today it has cooled off a lot. This was a long hot summer for us and a very wet one for you. How are the canetoads holding out? All in your swimmingpool? I know it is not a funny joke, but I had to make it.
    Take care and hope you will dry up soon there. Cheerio.

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    1. Hi Marguerite, so good to hear from you. Yes I've heard it's been hot and dry over your way. I wish we could spread some of this rain around! Your temps are cooling and I think ours are returning to the horrid summery highs now that the rain and storm system has moved south.

      Hah, as for the canetoads ... there weren't any swimming in our new 'pool' but they certainly have been swimming in the pond.

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  2. Wow Bernie! That is quite the storm. The weather is only becoming more extreme. The US has already experienced an early start to the tornado season with devastating effects.
    I absolutely want to come visit, but maybe during your summer ;) Cheers, Jenni

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    1. Jenni, it's the first tornado I've ever heard about in this part of the world, although our cyclones sure do act in the same way. About visiting in the summer, I wouldn't recommend it. Our summer is also our wet season with its threat of cyclones and storms. Even though we're now into our Autumn, the summer weather conditions continue.

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  3. Oh my gosh Bernie ~ I feel for those poor people who lost their homes. I'm so glad you were spared. You've sure had quite a lot of rain and I hope it lets up for you soon.

    FlowerLady

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    1. Morning FlowerLady, it does look like the rain and storm system that has caused all the wet windy weather in the last two days has now moved further south and is heading out to sea thankfully.

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  4. That's crazy weather! Even Ireland does'nt get that sort of rain. Glad you are ok, had heard about this on the news.

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    1. Bridget, the rain is rather typical for our monsoonal rainy season, although we do tend to get it earlier in the year. Still, it always wears a little thin after a while.

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  5. I thought of you when I saw it on the news. The damage in Townsville was terrible. Glad you had no wind damage.

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    1. Hi Missy, no wind damage at our place. The damage was restricted to just couple of suburbs closer to the city. We just have a whole lot of mud and mush everywhere, and some plants that have been pummelled a little by the driving rain.

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  6. Bernie,
    Yes we saw it on the news, obviously all the rain and storms are going south as we have actually had a bit of sunshine the last few days. We are isolated up here with roads blocked in multiple areas to the south of us. So sorry to hear of all the damage caused by the freak storm. Do take care driving on the roads with all that water around, and don't take chances. You definitely look as though you are living in a waterpark at the moment.

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    1. Hi AA, yes there was blue sky and sunshine today. Most of the water has drained off. It's amazing to see just what a difference a day makes here in the tropics! Highway is still closed going south though, and the clean-up around Vincent, Heatley and Garbutt is underway. There's lots of damage.

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  7. That's a lot of rain! Tornadoes are so sudden and so severe! I'm glad your home was fine, but I do feel sorry for the people that have to endure the damage of this tornado. It looks like a lot of devastation there.

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    1. HolleyGarden, that's why they're calling this a tornado and not a cyclone. Cyclones can be tracked and there's always a period of preparation as they build up and approach us. This freaky storm came out of nowhere and packed a real punch. I haven't as yet driven over there to see the damage, but there are plenty of photos doing the rounds in the papers, on the tele, and on the net. It does look pretty bad.

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  8. Once this dries out Bernie, there will be a lot of work to do and I don't envy you either. What a mess that rain created! Good luck with it all.

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    1. Aussie, yes there's a bit of muck and mush around the place. Big drifts of mud are now drying out in the sun and forming little pathways through the property. Some of the plants are looking pretty battered and bruised.

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  9. That's a lot of rain! I can't believe the waterfalls. That's sad about the tornado, especially after the cyclone last year. Hope the weather settles down for you.

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    1. Catherine, our 'wet' season should be over in about a month, so we're all just holding our breaths and waiting for it to be finished. You never know what's around the corner during a 'wet' season here.

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  10. Oh god! That's very bad weather in your place. Hope everything is fine with you!
    Very scary..... Hope the weather settle down...

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    1. Malar, only a few more weeks and the wet season will be over. Fingers crossed there will be more moderate weather during that time.

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  11. Hope today no more rain and is warm. Gosh that was devastating. Take care!

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    1. Blue sky and sunshine here today, Stephanie. It's hard to imagine just how bad the weather was yesterday. Talk about contrasts!

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  12. I think your pond is the only water feature you need in your garden Bernie! Hope that not too much damage has been caused. Good grief you certainly get some extremes of weather in the dry tropics. Seeing the awful damage to the area is so sad.

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    1. The pond has been constantly overflowing, Sue. It's not looking all that fab at the moment. We had thought this wet season was pretty ordinary and mild, but we were lulled into a false sense of security. Mother Nature loves playing games!

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  13. So what do you do when it rains nonstop for a week? We experience nothing like that here. It may rain for a few hours, or maybe a soft rain all day. A snow storm may last a few hours to a day. Do you write, paint, play in the rain (when there is no fear of being swept away)?

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    1. Hi Mary. When it's raining non-stop, we still carry on with all the usual stuff. I've been going to work, but at school the students haven't been able to get out of their classrooms much. We don't have covered walkways between buildings and our assembly shed is not big enough to serve as a place to play during breaks. Everyone at work goes a little stir crazy when the 'wet' season gets bad. At home we're lucky enough to have a huge wide verandah wrapped around our house, so we don't feel shut in. We can sit out and watch the rain pouring down. We read, listen to our record collection, watch movies, hubbie works in his workshop downstairs and I spend a bit of time on the computer.

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  14. Hello Bernie, i am so sorry about that, but am also glad you are spared. It would be so much waste if you were hit because you have just finished your house and garden. But it looks like a lot of topsoil from your garden was eroded. Those views of unroofed houses is common here after strong typhoons, and floods here common too. Thanks God my dwelling in the city and our house in the province are also spared from calamities. It will be better if some of those rains will fall on us here, because we are experiencing already the hot dry season. A little rain will decrease heat and give us some better sense of well-being.

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    1. Andrea, we were ever so grateful that our place wasn't affected. It's taken so long getting the place look half decent after last summer, I think we would have been totally depressed if there had been more destruction this summer. All that aside though, I do feel for all those poor people whose houses have been damaged. It's really tough for them to get through Yasi relatively unscathed and then see their homes damaged in just a few minutes this year!!

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  15. Dear Bernie, I wonder whether you should be thinking about changing the name of your blog??? (ironic lol) What a dramatic weather event. I am so pleased you were not adversely affected this time, and am so sorry for the people who were. cheers, cm

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    1. Huh, Catmint, during the wet season I should change the name! But of course then the dry comes around and lasts for so long.

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  16. Boy, do you get the rain, Bernie. You are lucky not to have gotten the worst of this weather, like those roofless houses. The video of the rushing water really brings it to life.

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    1. Yes, Donna, our wet season can be pretty harsh. The downpours of rain here are simply drenching. We can get a lot of rain in a very short period of time, and that means quite a bit of flooding because the compacted ground can't soak it up.

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  17. So sorry to see images from a Tornado! We live in a tornado prone area, and every year we hold our breath during tornado season. My heart goes out to those affected. I'm glad you were not affected by it, though all that rain is something!

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    1. Deb, tornadoes are unheard of here. It's the first one we've ever had. Obviously things are a-changing!

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  18. Bernie...do you think while we slept Australia and America are being pushed closer together? That is southern style weather girl! Maybe not the torrential rain but we do have some rather nice showers. The tornado however, is all ours. Major destruction in a smaller area but leaves very little that is not touched. I am glad you and yours were ok and did not get hit by the thing. Spring is usually our most destructive time when the weather is changing from cool to warm. Better keep watch on this moving of the continents...as we might be neighbors sooner than you think!

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    1. Jean, I'm not sure what's going on! The last thing we expected here was a tornado ... simply unheard of! The destruction of such a small area in such a short time was incredible. We're used to the damage from cyclones, but that's always quite widespread. You could be right about the shifting ... it may not be so far to come for a visit after all!

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  19. Wow! That is freaky isn't it Bernie. Th last 2 summers have been so strange after the drought haven't they. We must be due for a few gentle seasons after this surely.

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    1. You've hit the nail smack bang on the head there, Linda May. These last two summers have been quite something! Let's hope we both get to see some settled seasons over the next couple of years. It would be a nice change.

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  20. And here I was envying you for the rain when I started reading your post! Stay safe, Bernie.
    Incidentally, I do think that car park would make a better swimming pool than what you intended it for ;D

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  21. That's a LOT of rain!! And here I was complaining about the rain we had in Brisbane! I did hear about that tornado. I'm glad you weren't affected.

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