Thursday, February 3, 2011

Yasi continues to damage, even as it breaks up

UPDATE 8:30 pm Thurs 3 Feb: The rains that were supposed to hit us in north eastern Victoria are already arriving, accompanied by thunder and lightning as Yasi joins the air masses coming in from the south west.

Yasi is expected to start to break up soon. It is now a Category 1 cyclone, expected to form a tropical low over the next few hours.

The TC Yasi system is continuing to bring rains to the Far North Queensland coast, inland Queensland, the Northern Territory and South Australia.

Tropical Queensland is suffering intense wind and excess rain in the wet season up north. We in north eastern Victoria have just received rain from the remnants of TC Anthony, the cyclone that hit the north Queensland coast a few days ago while Yasi was forming.

Summer is the predominately dry season down in the south of Australia, but not this season - which is causing damage beyond the flooded areas with diseases spreading through crops because of the unseasonal humidity. In the next couple of days we expect to get intense rain from the outer rings of Yasi as it combines with air moving up from the south. We may get our third (in some parts our fourth) lot of flooding for the summer with very heavy rains on already sodden soils at a time when it should be mostly dry, and many crops would otherwise be getting close to harvest.

Queensland is not the only state to suffer from excess water. It has suffered enormous damage recently. Victorians are also suffering with about 1/3 of the state under water that spread up to 40 km wide, with some towns submerged under water for more than a week and totally cut off for even longer. Parts of Western Australia and Tasmania have had devastating floods.

We don't know exactly the situation across the rest of Australia - the media is focused on Queensland. I doubt there will be much notice taken of the roads and bridges that have yet to be repaired from floods in early summer or the January floods or the coming floods. This is understandable, given the enormous job ahead of those in popular populated parts of Queensland and the spectacular circumstances of the Queensland disasters.

Still, spare a thought for those who cannot travel easily between towns and rural areas across parts of Victoria and those whose livelihoods have been destroyed or seriously harmed in Victoria, Tasmania and Western Australia. And how the damage across Australia will affect the economy and the lives of Australians everywhere.

Welcome to a warmer world.

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