Tropical Cyclone Ului Arrives

No prizes for guessing what today’s post is about. It’s been a while coming, but on Sunday in the early hours, Ului arrived. After all the guesswork and the talk of its unpredictability, the Bureau of Meteorology did a pretty fine job of predicting exactly where it would cross the coast.

Ului tore through The Whitsundays, Airlie Beach and Proserpine, well, all places between Bowen and Mackay. That’s a stretch of around 150kms of coast. Here in Brisbane, we didn’t even get a light breeze.

I know I talk about extreme weather here in Australia quite a lot and from some of the questions I get asked via e-mail from readers, it appears that some people have become quite concerned. So let’s put a few minds at rest today.

The default weather in Australia, certainly here in Brisbane, is hot, sunny with clear blue skies. But the country does have some severe weather, most typically up north. That’s probably why Brisbane is the most northerly major city.

It also partly explains why Darwin has 74,000 people and Brisbane nearer 2 million. That said, here are some facts about the cyclone that hit on Sunday.

About 60,000 homes lost all power; some boats got smashed; a few thousand trees were knocked over and some houses lost their roofs. Winds reached around 200 km per hour but only towards the centre of the cyclone’s 50 km width. Nobody died.

The event has been described as “significant, not catastrophic” and the Mayor of Proserpine said “if you were going to wish for a cyclone, Ului is the one you would want”.

Of course, I’m not suggesting everything is just fine, there are still major problems up there with electricity and water supplies. But the Australians are a hugely resilient bunch and they do tend to underplay these things.

Take a look at this video, this is what happened over at The Whitsundays the very day after the cyclone. A post cyclone party…..

Watching the news last night showing footage of the morning after, as the camera zoomed skywards over a beach you could see that somebody had carved out the following message in the sand….

“is that all you got Ului?”

Probably because the cyclone struck at around 11:30 PM through to around 2 AM in the morning, there’s not much footage of the actual storm on YouTube.

But thanks to Weathermon,  I did find this…..

If history is a good indication, that’s the end of cyclone season for this year. But it’ll be back again soon.

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{ 4 comments… add one }
  • BobinOz March 24, 2010, 12:37 am | Link

    Ului did not cause the death of that poor young lad. Just for those who do not know what we are talking about, there was some kind of competition going on, I think a regular annual event, down at Kurrawa Beach, which is on the Gold Coast. That’s something like 800 km away from where the cyclone crossed the coast at Mackay.

    But conditions were really choppy in the sea and although the event is a competition for lifeguards, the very people who save us from drowning in such conditions, the organisers had not cancelled it even though a couple of competitors had already been seriously injured. Apparently, they were thinking about it though.

    Just before this strong and fit 19-year-old boy took part in his event, it was reported that he actually said “I really don’t want to do this”. Conditions were so bad. But Australians take their sport seriously, so it wasn’t cancelled and in he went. He was hit in the head by a stray surf ski and it took them over an hour before they found his body.

    Somebody’s to blame, but it wasn’t Ului. Very sad and a senseless waste of a young life.

  • Steve Povey March 23, 2010, 12:39 am | Link

    Hard not to talk about the weather when you get so many extremeties though.

    Just a point, you mention ‘nobody died’, i thought that SurfLife Saver died as a direct result of the huge swell caused by Ului at Kurrawa? Why they didnt call it off is beyond me. Treachourous conditions out there that day.

  • BobinOz March 23, 2010, 12:31 am | Link

    Thanks for the tip off Steve, that’s one place I didn’t look. I will bookmark it, it’s sure to come in handy. After all, I am now running a blog about the weather or so it seems.

    Having said that, I think the next few months are usually quite “normal” weather-wise. Not too hot, not too cold, not too windy, not too wet.

    Perhaps I’ll start blogging about life in Australia again!

  • Steve Povey March 22, 2010, 8:35 pm | Link

    Hi Bob, i’ve been following Ului since a week last Saturday and it’s been a hard one for forecasters to predict because of many changes in directions and influencing factors.
    One place I would recommend to look at when this kind of thing happens again is http://www.weatherzone.com.au. Take a look at the forums, there’s a load of ‘experts’ on there who have correctly forecasted the track of this since day 1 pretty much. They update all of the several met agencies forecasts all in the one place too. I’ve been glued to it for the last 10 days! It does get a bit technical at times but i’ve gone from a complete novice with Cyclones to knowing quite a lot more just in that time.
    They even had 2 guys travel down from Townsville going storm chasing to get a load of readings from the eye/eye wall etc.
    Worth looking at!

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