You know it’s serious when the insurers declare a catastrophe. Queensland is getting another massive hit from the leftovers of cyclone Oswald, which apparently don’t know when to leave. Six tornadoes and one death have been recorded.
Brisbane TimesEarlier today, residents of the central Queensland city of Bundaberg, where six tornadoes have damaged up to 150 homes in the past 24 hours, were ordered to leave their homes immediately.
Bundaberg residents are bracing for the Burnett River to peak at nine metres - higher than the floods two years ago - and residents have been told they have limited time to get out.
There are at least 15 current warnings of floods and severe weather from the Bureau of Meteorology for Queensland, 11 of them from this afternoon alone. Missing people are also becoming part of the problem. This sort of weather is quite unspeakable. I’ve been in a cyclone in Queensland, on one of the islands, and it’s no joke. “Heavy rain”, with a bit of wind behind it, can make movement not only impossible but ridiculous to consider. The rescues have included getting kids out of surges of water through creeks that no white water fan would go near. The damage is already extensive:
… More than 73,000 homes were without power about 3pm, mostly in the Gympie, Sunshine Coast, Moreton Bay and Brisbane regions.
You can forgive the banana benders for being obsessed with weather maps right now. The live coverage is self-explanatory and getting grimmer with each post.
In Australia, this is the season when anything can happen and always does. Down south, we’ve just been battling bushfires in bone dry bushland. Up in Queensland, it’s the wet season. They’re only just getting back on their feet after the 2011 horror story, and they’re getting hit again across an area so big it makes Texas look like a golf course.
No reports of much happening in the smaller communities. That’s either good or bad news. Last time they got hit so hard that they were practically obliterated in a very short space of time.
The tornadoes are a new touch. They’re not entirely unknown in Australia, but six at a time is a bit new. The low related to the remains of Cyclone Oswald is probably responsible, adding a degree of difficulty for damage control and emergency services.
Any Queenslanders reading this, keep your heads down. Doesn’t look like it’s going to end soon, any more than the last one. Make sure you’ve got fresh water and a way of getting to safe ground if you have to. Just think of it as a typical State of Origin match. You’ll be fine.