Friday, February 1, 2013

A Special Australian Season.

Here in my part of the world we don't experience four significant seasonal changes.  Whilst I do refer to seasons like summer, winter, autumn, spring; in reality we really only have the short 'wet' season and the long, long 'dry'. 

There is another part of our weather cycle, another season that I refer to from time to time.  It's 'cyclone season'.  That is a time in our yearly weather cycle that can have devastating results on the environment and the people living here.

A typical Australian cyclone season begins in November (which is the last month of our Spring), and ends in April (our mid-Autumn month), with most of the cyclonic activity happening during our summer.  We average around 11 cyclones per cyclone season across northern Australia, with maybe half of those making landfall and crossing our coastline.

At the moment are now three-quarters of the way through the cyclone season of 2012-2013, and I guess on the worst scenario scale, we've managed to experience a fairly mild cyclone season so far, although it's all relative when it comes to severe weather events.   What one person experiences can be oh-so-different to another's experiences.

The predicted outlook for the current cyclone season was for "average to slightly below average cyclonic activity", which was good news to our ears.  I found this Wikipedia page which gives a very good round-up about the current cyclone season for those who are interested, and it appears that the predictions have been right on-the-money so far.

2012-2013 Australian Region Cyclone Season

Cyclones tend to affect the northern, north-eastern, north-western and western regions around the coastlines.  So far this cyclone season there have officially been 5 cyclones, the first appearing on the radar on Boxing Day, December 26th, 2012. 

Here's the summary map of the 2012-2013 cyclone season so far:

You can see from the map that only one of the cyclones has impacted on my home state of Queensland so far.  Parts of my home state of Queensland have really been suffering in the last couple of weeks.   A cyclone known as Tropical Cyclone Oswald developed a long way up north, in the Gulf of Carpentaria, over a fortnight ago.

The actual cyclonic storm only lasted for twelve hours up there, and was quickly downgraded to a monsoonal low soon after it crossed the west Cape York coast.  But Oswald didn't make a polite exit, as a gentleman should.  He made a little turn as he hit the Coral Sea coast, and the remnants of the cyclone continued all the way down the eastern coast, maintaining intensity, until he ran out of puff around about Sydney, and then moved out to sea.

As an ex-cyclone, Oswald caused severe storms, tornadoes and bought incredible amounts of torrential rain down the coast.  The impact has included the loss of 6 lives, evacuation of thousands of people, widespread devastating flooding and destruction of homes, roads and bridges.  We were very lucky up here in the north.  We only received a couple of days of heavy torrential downpours, which we rather appreciated after our long dry season. 

Many people further south must have had feelings of deja-vu.  They had been through catastrophic flooding just two years ago, so I can imagine how traumatic it must have been to go through this again after many had just recovered from the last experience.  The only positive I guess this time around, was that the extent of the flooding was not as bad. 

You can read all about the floods of 2010/2011 here:  2010-2011 Queensland Floods

Now while we northerners have not experienced a severe flooding event so far this year to compare with our poor southern neighbours, yesterday was a significant day for us as we remembered a cyclone season we never ever want to see again.

Path of Cyclone Yasi 2011:

Yesterday was the second anniversary of Severe Tropical Cyclone Yasi, and as little articles started popping up in the news and in online communities, the memories came flooding back.  Yasi made a long journey across the Pacific Ocean directly to our part of the Queensland coastline, and then continued travelling a long way inland.  It achieved notoriety as "the worst cyclone in Queensland's history".

Regular readers of my blog know the devastation that Yasi caused here in my corner of north Queensland, as well as the effect it had here at my place.  It was a frightening, devastating experience.  One that I don't ever want to have to go through again in my lifetime.  

You can see a tab at the top of this blog - 'The Sad and Sorry Story of Cyclone Yasi' - if you're interested in revisiting my experiences of that infamous weather event; and here's a link to a Wikipedia page all about
Cyclone Yasi

So while I was re-living bad times yesterday, I was also looking forward.  There are still a few more months left before this current cyclone season officially ends, which means year's cyclone season story is not over just yet.  Fingers crossed.  Here's hoping we've seen the worst of it for 2013.

For anyone who wants to know the basic facts about cyclones ... how and where they form, how they're catgorised and named ... you might like to visit:

Get the Facts on Cyclones

The 'eye' of a cyclone, as seen from space.

One very interesting fact that I thought I'd add.  The name 'Yasi' has been taken off the list of cyclone names and replaced with 'Yvette'.  There will never be another cyclone named Yasi.


  1. Cyclones ! I do not envy you for cyclones ! That is the downside for living in a tropical environment ! Here in Belgium we don't have cyclones (yet)or earthquakes or vulcano activity...on the other hand we have sad weather almost all the time...

    1. Gwennie, I think no matter where you live in the world, there's always some extreme weather event that can cause mayhem and destruction. Cyclones are certainly one of the downsides of living in the tropics.

  2. Very informative and eye opening post.
    On my side of the world, we refer to the cyclones as hurricanes, and they are very destructive.
    My island Barbados has not had a catastrophic hurricane since hurricane Janet back in 1955, before I was born. My mum talked about it in such a fearful way, that I knew I never wanted to live through a hurricane. The name Janet was retired from the Atlantic list of hurricanes after it caused so much destruction and loss of lives.
    I'm glad that you are okay, but we must also be thoughtful of others who were not so fortunate.

    1. You're so lucky not to have experienced a catastrophic hurricane. Having been through Cyclone Yasi, which was the highest rated cyclone for our state, I wouldn't wish it on anyone.

      There are still many, many people suffering further south. Some people will never be able to return to their houses. That would be so heartbreaking.

  3. Bernie I live about 500 miles from the Gulf Coast. In the fall of the year it's hurricane season. The Gulf and Florida are easy targets it seems. The hurricanes sometimes roll over us too with high winds and heavy rains but nothing like the coast gets. I think that season here starts in September. We will soon be in Spring and then we have tornadoes.They are very destructive and deadly. Seems like there is always a fun event for every season all over the world.I guess it's just a part of living on Big Blue.

    1. Yes Jean, I think every corner of the globe has some sort of horrific weather event that causes destruction and mayhem. I do so hope the coming tornado season is not too bad for you, or those who live on the coast.

  4. Never again. The worst weather we've had in Porterville was a freak wind that took out half the trees soon after we arrived, but before we were committed to a heart-broken garden. Then 2 'floods' - but seeing that picture of people sheltering on the roof with the house under water, puts ours into humble perspective. The mind boggles at the sheer VOLUME of water that is!!


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