It’s been a hectic but fun weekend here. As I mentioned a couple of posts ago, it was my daughter’s fifth birthday this week. On Saturday we had a party. We kicked it off at about 6 p.m. and had 12 adults and nine children around. I fired up the barbecue and we all sat outside. The kids played on the new trampoline and the adults got stuck into the tinnies. It was a typical Australian evening’s entertainment.
The last guests left at a quarter to one in the morning. It was a particularly good effort from my Australian friend Peter, who had been up since 5 a.m. and is often in bed by nine o’clock. Well played Pete! It’s on evenings like these that my wife and I realise just how much we have fallen on our feet here.
It may end up being a hectic week. Tropical cyclone Hamish appears to be heading in our direction.
I first became aware of this cyclone when my son, who as you may recall is here for a holiday, mentioned it. You see, he was off to Cairns on Sunday for a week on a diving course at the Great Barrier Reef. He was worried the course may have been cancelled. It’s not normally a good idea to be out at sea off the North-east coast of Queensland when there is a tropical cyclone wreaking havoc along that very same North-East coast.
But when he phoned and checked they said it was okay, the cyclone was heading south. But hold on, that’s where we are! ” Will it reach Brisbane?” – my son asked. ” no, they always fizzle out before they get here” I said, like as if I was an expert.
My knowledge was based on the weather warning update I’d read online which had said that they expected Hamish would come to an end around 250 km north of Brisbane. Besides, nobody had ever mentioned cyclones in Brisbane before. And the weather warning update I read this morning suggested the same. Sure, Brisbane would get a fair old backlash, but nothing much more than five days of heavy rain and plenty high winds.
Then I came into contact with media! At lunchtime I was eating in a cafe in Kenmore, where I read today’s Courier Mail. “Run For It!” was the headline. It went on to say that the residents of Hervey Bay were being evacuated in preparation for the almost certain crossing of the coast by the cyclone onto mainland. It then said there were great similarities with tropical cyclone Wanda of 1974, which was responsible for possibly the worst flooding in the history of Brisbane. Ok, so they don’t all fizzle out before they get here.
I have just checked their website for an update and they are now quoting only a 5% probability that Hamish will come onto the mainland. Call me cynical, but that headline wouldn’t have sold so many papers.
The truth is, nobody knows where tropical cyclone Hamish will end up. All we do know for sure is that it is currently, as I write this, about 450 kms north of Brisbane and already there is a healthy breeze around us here. It is still a category 4 with wind gusts of 250 kms/hr in the centre. It’s moving at about 17 kms/hr in a south easterly direction. If it turns south westerly and keeps going, we’ll be battening down the hatches.
But the best outcome is it stays out at sea and becomes a category 2 by Wednesday and just gets weaker from there. As a backlash, we get the cats and dogs of it filling up the dams across all of Queensland and New South Wales and perhaps even Victoria. They would really appreciate it. And from your point of view, you can look forward to an entire week where I don’t get to say “hot and sunny” (well, the rest of the week) because the racing certainty is we’ve got plenty of wet and windy coming our way.