Australian Tornadoes: The Most Destructive Ever!

Last week I did the best I could to explain humidity and I also showed you where humidity goes when it gets a full. I appreciate I may not be using the correct meteorological terms here, but the end result is the same.

Stage one: become hot and sweaty. Stage two: buckets of rain.

If you missed it, you can read it again and see the video of those buckets of rain by checking out my post humidity explained.

It’s interesting that on the very same day, further north in Queensland, a corn farmer was having a spot of bother with the weather himself. Check this out……

I mentioned a while back that we were now entering cyclone season and so far I think we have had a couple of serious contenders forming off of the northern coasts, but as yet no really serious damage has been caused. But it seems it isn’t just cyclone season, we are also in tornado season.

Australia isn’t really noted for its tornadoes, that dubious honour goes to the United States. But as you can see from the above video, we certainly do get them here. And it is very interesting that the tornado in the cornfield happened last Tuesday, 16 February.

A year ago on exactly the same day, The Gap, a suburb about 20 minutes from where I live, was hit with some serious winds. There has been heated discussion over whether it was a cyclone, a tornado or just very strong winds. You can check out the video, which is extraordinary, over at my post about our worst storm in 10 years.

So I decided to do a little research on Australian tornadoes. So much for my tornado season theory! Turns out Australia have had tornadoes in February, March, April, August, September, October, November and December. They’ve probably had some on the other months too, I just haven’t found them. Oh, correction, just found some for the other four months of the year.

So tornado season is all the time. And they are everywhere! Western Australia and Queensland seem to get the most, but they have also hit Victoria, South Australia, New South Wales and Northern Territory.

Australia’s most “damaging” tornado formed in a place called Brookfield, in the western suburbs of Brisbane on November 4, 1973. From there it journeyed through Kenmore Hills, Mount Coot-tha, Taringa, across to Eight Mile Plains and finished off its 51 km run at Moreton Bay, which is where you’ll find Nudgee Beach.

Almost 1400 houses were damaged or destroyed causing around $13 million worth of damage. Fortunately, nobody was killed, but around 20 people were injured.

Hold on! Western suburbs, Brisbane? Isn’t that where I live?

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{ 2 comments… add one }
  • BobinOz March 23, 2010, 12:01 am | Link

    Hi Steve

    I think that’s the thing with this place. Australia is so big that stuff goes on, sometimes in remote places, and just never gets noticed. It’s that old saying, if a tree falls in the forest and nobody is there to hear it, does it make a sound?

    What I’m saying is, when a tornado hits the USA people are going to see it. But then there are 300 million people there and just 20 million or so people here and not that much difference in the size of each country. But for one farmer, would we have known about this tornado?

    If you hadn’t have been sitting on your balcony over on the Gold Coast that night, perhaps that tornado would never have existed. Or perhaps it didn’t anyway and you really are crazy! That’d explain why you couldn’t find it on Google. Just kidding there Steve!

    But for sure, yes, these things can happen in your own backyard. Brookfield more or less is my own backyard being just about 4 km up the road. That’s why I think it’s worth signing up for those weather warning alerts.

  • Steve Povey March 22, 2010, 6:48 pm | Link

    Hi Bob,

    I used to think the same thing about Oz never getting tornadoes, until i was sitting out on a balcony one day in 2005 (can’t remember which month) over-looking the sea on the gold coast. Low and behold what should appear? A tornado or waterspout i think is what they’re called when they’re over water. The most eerie thing was it was a relatively clear sky with only a few clouds dotted about and the one cloud directly infront of us had formed not only one but 2 waterspouts! What an amazing sight i thought!

    First thing i thought of was to contact 7 news down at surfers. The woman i spoke to obviously thought i must of been crazy as she sounded like she didnt believe me. (I can only imagine she was looking out the window and seeing nothing but blue skies.)

    Anyway, 10 minutes later she’d arranged a film crew to get out and film it. I watched them pass from where i was chasing it down Main Beach Parade. They managed to get half decent footage and it got onto the evening news that night!

    Just been looking for it on google for the last half hour to put a link up, but i can’t find anything. 🙁

    Just goes to show these things can and will hit anywhere even ‘your own back yard’!

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