Posted by: malcolmjamesjwells | 25/02/2015

Bracing for Cyclone Marcia

In January 2013 I experienced ex-Tropical Cyclone Oswald just a month after moving to Yeppoon in Central Queensland. We saw some pretty fierce weather and I took a few memorable photos of the aftermath. It was an uncomfortable experience as we battled to keep the elements out of the house, but we came through it ok.

On 18th February 2015 a tropical low in the Coral Sea off the Queensland coast. It quickly developed into Tropical Cyclone Marcia and began heading for shore. We tracked the cyclone on the internet as it rapidly gained intensity as it headed our way.

Alarmed by the rapid rise in intensity of the storm we began to make preparations on the Thursday morning. We taped up the windows that we knew to be most vulnerable from our previous experience. We moved anything inside the house that might be lost in a fierce storm. The wheelie bins, hose reels and potted plants were moved into the garage. We stacked the chairs from our outdoor setting inside the house and turned the large table upside down on the deck, and hard against the railings.  The heavy barbecue was secured with ropes and ockey straps. Our chunky outdoor cane furniture on the upper deck was in a sheltered corner and seemed immovable. We left a bistro blind in place to help secure that corner from the wind; it would prove a big mistake.

On the morning of Friday 20th February Marcia made landfall near Shoalwater Bay just north of Yeppoon. It was now a Category 5 Cyclone and it was heading south towards us. As well as tracking its progress on the computer we received regular updates on our local ABC radio station.

We retired to bed that night in sombre mood. We had done all we could, or so we thought; the rest was out of our hands.

At 4am the next morning I heard my mobile phone, or was it a dream? Bleary eyed I stumbled from bed to check. A message from Livingstone Shire Council urged us to evacuate the property immediately; I was now wide awake. I read the message to my wife and we stared at one another in stunned silence, it must be a sick joke, or at least a mistake. We turned on the ABC to find out what was going on. It turned out that the message was intended for people in certain vulnerable low lying areas along the coast. If the cyclone should arrive anywhere near the expected king tide at around 10am the results could be catastrophic. I had already photographed some pretty awesome tidal photos two days previously, the thought of them being intensified by cyclonic winds made me shudder.

I looked out of the lounge room window, it was still quite dark. We were on top of a slope, where it was considered to be relatively safe. There was no hint of what was to come. I made a pot of tea and we settled to listen to the grim warnings on the radio. There would be no more sleeping for us for some time.

.Cyclone 3

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: